Alex calls for urgent action to address “dire situation” of rising unemployment in Stockton North

Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has called on the Chancellor to urgently address the “dire situation” of growing unemployment in his constituency.

Newly released claimant figures from the House of Commons Library shows that there are now 4510 people claiming unemployment related benefits in Stockton North – an increase of 1,465 compared to the same period in 2020. This amounts to 7.9 per cent of 16-64 year olds in the constituency – 1.5 per cent higher than the UK equivalent claimant rate.

975 of these claimants are aged 18-24 – a rise of 340 on January 2020. There are also 5,303 people in Stockton North currently furloughed from their employment. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) is set to expire in April although an extension is expected.

Labour is holding an Opposition Day debate today (23 February) on Supporting Businesses and Individuals through the Coronavirus, and are calling for extension of business support and furlough schemes.

Alex said:

“The soaring unemployment figures – on top of 12,500 jobs lost in the Tees Valley during this pandemic – is a dire situation that the Chancellor needs to urgently address. Too many people are losing jobs as a result of the Government’s mistakes and too many young people are losing out on employment and training opportunities.

“We need a plan now from the Chancellor, not promises of a plan next week. People need certainty – they need to know that furlough will be extended and Universal Credit will not be cut. We also need to see a real plan to get our younger people into work.

“People can’t afford to wait for the Chancellor to get his act together. They need emergency action today, not more dither and delay until the Budget.”