Jobless total nearly doubles in a year

PUBLISHED: 09:29 25 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:56 04 May 2010

ROYSTON’S MP Oliver Heald, left, meets Johnson Matthey director John Gourd at the House of Commons.

ROYSTON'S MP Oliver Heald, left, meets Johnson Matthey director John Gourd at the House of Commons.

UNEMPLOYMENT in North East Hertfordshire has almost doubled in the last year. New statistics compiled by the House of Commons Library reveal that the total number of unemployment claimants has risen from 589 in January 2008 to 1,138 in January 2009, an in

UNEMPLOYMENT in North East Hertfordshire has almost doubled in the last year.

New statistics compiled by the House of Commons Library reveal that the total number of unemployment claimants has risen from 589 in January 2008 to 1,138 in January 2009, an increase of 93 per cent.

MP Oliver Heald said the figures show that Crow Country is "not immune" to the effects of the global economic downturn.

But he said: "These figures look bad, but the overall picture shows that Hertfordshire has not been hit as hard as some others, such as Swindon, where unemployment has actually quadrupled."

Mr Heald has pledged to lobby the Government for "urgently needed assistance".

He said: "The Government needs to gear up the Jobcentres and programmes for the long-term unemployed.

"It also needs to use the recession to ensure that people are trained in the necessary skills and that Britain is at the forefront of new businesses, such as those developing in the Green sector.

"We must emerge stronger from the recession."

Several firms in the Royston area have made jobs cuts in the last few months, including Johnson Matthey, which shed 100 posts at its Orchard Road plant earlier this year.

John Gourd, a director of Johnson Matthey, met Mr Heald at an East of England Development Agency Conference, held at the House of Commons last week.

The aim of the event was to discuss ways to attract further investment to the Eastern region throughout the downturn.

Mr Heald also chatted with Adrian Jeakins, chief executive of Archant, The Crow's parent company.

He said: "We are lucky to have such strong businesses in Hertfordshire, but even they are having to take a cautious approach in the current climate.

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