Chamber picture 2013 03Speaking in a debate on the Finance Bill, MP for Houghton and Sunderland South Bridget Phillipson has taken the government to task on its inability to tackle unemployment in the north east.

Although there have been signs that the British economy is finally starting to return to growth, the recovery remains unbalanced.

The rate of joblessness in the region now stands at 9.5% overall, well above the national average of 7.2% and the highest of any region in the country.

Youth unemployment is of particular concern, with 32% of those claiming Jobseekers Allowance in Houghton and Sunderland South aged between 18 and 24 -; 7% higher than the national average.

The region has also suffered from a devastating cost of living crisis that has seen food, petrol, housing and energy costs rocket since 2010. In addition, both men and women in the north east have seen their earnings decline since the general election. The average earnings of men living in the Houghton and Sunderland South constituency have fallen by £49 a week and for women by an average of £26 a week.

Speaking after the debate, Bridget Phillipson MP said:

“Long term youth unemployment in my constituency has increased by over 1600 per cent in 4 years. Research has shown that there are 17 job seekers chasing every vacancy in Sunderland, making the city the 5th toughest job market in the UK.

“This year’s Budget simply does not go far enough in addressing the current jobs shortage, cost of living crisis or delivering on deficit reduction.

“The Budget was a missed opportunity. The north east is an asset to the UK economy, but it has vast untapped potential. We need a government working with us to unleash the talents of everyone across our region.”
The full speech by Bridget can be read here.

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