Jobseekers’ Allowance claims increase in Tower Hamlets during London 2012 despite expected Olympic boost

PUBLISHED: 18:18 18 September 2012

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The “once in a lifetime opportunity” the Olympics presented to bring jobs into Tower Hamlets has been missed by the borough’s Mayor, according to Labour councillors.

The claim follows the publication of September’s figures for the number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance which show that, while the number of claimants between June and September reduced dramatically in other Olympic boroughs, Tower Hamlets bucked the trend by recording an increase.

Neighbouring boroughs Hackney and Newham both saw the number of JSA claimants fall by more than 800, while in Tower Hamlets there has been a small increase in claimants with five more in September than in June.

Labour’s spokesman for work and economic growth Cllr Anwar Khan said: “Other Olympic boroughs have seen significant reductions in unemployment over the Olympics yet in Tower Hamlets the Mayor has left us with a legacy of failure.

“Hackney and Newham both face similar circumstances to Tower Hamlets but cut unemployment dramatically over the Olympics. The lack of planning for this once in a lifetime opportunity has robbed us of our chance to kickstart a new wave of employment in the borough.”

In Tower Hamlets, the proportion of the population claiming the benefit has stayed at 6.1 per cent. In Hackney figure fell from 6.8 per cent in June to 6.3 per cent in September, and Newham also experieced a 0.5% drop during the summer months.

The council has admitted it was unaware of the disparity between boroughs, and was unable to offer a definitive explanation for it.

A spokesman said: “The council has received these statistics and is exploring the possible reasons for the disparity. Until we understand more fully the underlying factors associated with these statistics it would be inappropriate to make assumptions.”

The council also repeated its previous claims that it had helped 2,000 people from the borough into Olympics jobs through the Mayor’s agreement with LOCOG, triggering Labour to warn of the consequences when the statistics for the aftermath of the Olympics are released.

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