Labour is warning against two ‘lost generations’ across Manchester, as figures reveal a steep rise in women over 50 and young people claiming job seeker’s allowance (JSA) for more than six months.
In total there has been a 57% increase in women over 50 claiming JSA across Greater Manchester, bringing the total number to 1,750, while Trafford, Tameside and Bolton were the worst affected with increases of over 70% each.
Meanwhile the number of young people across Greater Manchester claiming JSA rose by 84% in the same period, bringing the total to 9,530, with the young claimants in Manchester Central area rising by 117% and Tameside by 133%.
“These figures suggest two generations of people who are losing the ability to work and will quickly become lost generations unless action is taken,” said Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Manchester Central Lucy Powell.
“We need a plan B now,” she added. “The longer the Chancellor refuses to act, the heavier the price our country will pay.”
The numbers, retrieved from House of Commons Library data and based on Department of Work and Pensions figures, come in the wake of yesterday’s shocking news that Britain’s economic output fell by 0.7% in the three months to June – the country has slumped to its longest double-dip recession in more than 50 years.
Ms Powell added the figures were not simply about those directly claiming JSA, but families who will have to cope with the limited finances along with those paying for unemployment benefits long-term.
She said: “If these figures – together with yesterday’s shocking GDP figures – don’t make the Chancellor and David Cameron wake up and realise they need to change course, I don’t know what will.”
City analysts had predicted a 0.2% slump in gross domestic product, following on from a 0.3% decline in the first three months of 2012 and a 0.4% fall in the final quarter of 2011, but were reportedly stunned by the lower figures.
Meanwhile, the Department for Work and Pensions announced last month that the new Universal Credit system will be trialled first across Greater Manchester from April next year.
Designed to replace and streamline the current JSA along a range of other existing benefits, the first areas to undergo the trial will be Tameside, Oldham, Wigan and Warrington.