One in 10 Tower Hamlets youths claiming benefits

One in every 10 young people in Tower Hamlets is claiming unemployment benefits, government figures show.

Statistics released by the Office for National Statistics show the number of 18-24 year olds claiming for jobseekers’ allowance (JSA) increased for the fourth month in a row, reaching 2,951 in October.

Tower Hamlets is lagging behind neighbouring London boroughs such as Hackney and Newham, which both have slightly lower rates of youth unemployment. It is also three per cent higher than the average rate across the whole of the capital.

The council’s Labour group and MPs warned of a “lost generation” if independent mayor Lutfur Rahman and his cabinet did not tackle the problem.

Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, added: “These unemployment figures will provide little comfort to young people in Tower Hamlets.

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“Closer to home they’re seeing a tough job market and no helping hand from the government or council. We must do more to help young people who are out of work before they’re completely isolated and forgotten.”

The news comes just months after figures showed that the number of JSA claims in Tower Hamlets increased during the Olympic period, despite other host boroughs seeing significant decreases in the number of claimants

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However, the council dismissed Labour’s criticism and defended its record of getting young people into work.

Cabinet member for jobs and skills Cllr. Shafiqul Haque said: “This is yet another desperate attempt to divert attention away from the good work that is taking place in Tower Hamlets to enable the young to have the best opportunities as possible to fulfil their potential.”

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