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Huge drop in jobseeker benefit claims in Havering

PUBLISHED: 12:00 11 January 2014

Job Centre sign

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Employment looks to be on the rise in Havering as figures show the number of people claiming unemployment benefit has fallen by more than a third.

Hornchurch High Street upgrade complete

Cllr Rob Benham  with new street furniture. 

Hornchurch High Street upgrade complete Cllr Rob Benham with new street furniture.

An agreement was struck between the council and Jobcentre Plus in January 2013 to reduce the number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) by 10 per cent.

But by the end of October, it had exceeded expectation and fallen a massive 33.6 per cent - from 5,827 to 3,869.

And there was more good news, as the amount of 18-24-year-old claimants dropped almost 30 per cent in the same period.

Cabinet member for community empowerment, Cllr Robert Benham, said: “We have put a number of schemes in place to encourage local business and recruit local people.

“Our agreement is working well but we know times are still tough.

“We will continue to work to promote local businesses and employment to try and drive down this figure further.”

Year-on-year figures are also positive, with a 25 per cent drop in people claiming the benefit from October 2012 to October 2013.

Alex Armstrong, chairman of Havering Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the good news.

He said: “There is a bit more optimism and buoyancy about Havering now. Local business is certainly very good at the moment.”

The fall in the number of Havering JSA claimants is continuing with the latest monthly figures, between September and October 2013, showing a 5.4 per cent fall and 7.8 per cent for the 18-24 age group.

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