UNEMPLOYMENT in rural Cheshire has doubled while twice as many younger people are claiming benefits.
Figures released by the National Office of Statistics revealed that during the last two years, the number of Eddisbury residents on Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) has increased from 870 to more than 1,700.
People aged between 18 and 24 claiming JSA has more than doubled from 250 in November 2007 to almost 600 today.
Eddisbury MP Stephen O’Brien was shocked to learn of the figures and aligned the constituency’s employment issue with the financial downturn.
He said: “The recession, the longest and deepest since records began, has caused all types of unemployment in the Eddisbury constituency to rocket.
“It is a cause of great concern that unemployment among young people in our area has increased by over 100% over the last two years and the number claiming JSA has also nearly doubled. Disturbingly long-term unemployment in Eddisbury is also soaring across all age groups.
“Failure to get the banks lending to sound small and medium sized businesses is destroying the rural economy and jobs in our area.”
Eddisbury, which includes Tarvin, Kelsall, Tarporley, Malpas and Winsford, is home to more than 80,000 people with about 50,000 of those between the age of 18 and retirement.
Chief executive of Cheshire West Citizens Advice Bureau Paul Nicholls believes the unemployment situation could get worse but reassured residents of west Cheshire that services were available to help them.
He said: “This development has risen sharply and we will probably see that figures will go up even more in the future as the recession continues.
“At the Citizens Advice Bureau for the whole of Cheshire West, we have seen a significant increase in unemployment and in particular inquiries about social security and debt.
“We are working with our partners to develop better ways of responding to that.
“The recession has reached out to areas with which we would not associate such problems.
“When people lose their jobs after a long period of stability, they will be unfamiliar with the benefit system. If they call the CAB, they can arrange a benefit check. They can also take advice on how to manage debt.”
Anyone struggling with unemployment can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau on 01606 596389 and arrange an appointment at Chester or Winsford.