High jobless figures in Hastings among the young

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HASTINGS has seen some of the highest increases in unemployment in the last four years, according to an annual report published this week.

The Centre for Cities Outlook for 2012 study, which examines 64 towns and cities across the UK, said Hastings saw a rise of more than 2.5 per cent since February 2008.

The percentage of young workers claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance was also 8.5 per cent in Hastings in November 2011, the fifth highest out of all the 64 cities.

However the news was not all bad, as Hastings saw a 3.9 per cent increase in private sector employment from 2009 to 2010, which is the second highest rise nationally.

The town also saw an increase of 700 private sector jobs over this period.

Cllr Jeremy Birch, leader of Hastings Borough Council, said: “Jobs is the key issue for people in Hastings and that is why we, as a local authority, are developing a jobs action plan to push employers to take on apprentices. On Monday we are launching a campaign called 100 Apprentices in 100 Days. We are also looking to bid for funding from the European Union (EU) to assist those who have been out of work for some time to make sure they are employable.

“The council intends to launch a campaign to market and rebrand Hastings both for visitors and inward investors.

“With the university in town and the Jerwood Gallery opening in March, this means Hastings is changing and improving.”

The town’s MP, Amber Rudd, said the rise in private sector employment was ‘great news’ for Hastings.

She said: “This is much higher than the national average, which has seen private sector employment fall by 1.4 per cent.

“I strongly believe that economic recovery and growth need to be led by the private sector and these figures show that Hastings is leading the way nationally.

“In addition to these figures, Saga, which opened in Hastings in January last year, is on target to employ up to 800 people at its office in One Priory Square.”