Rise in the number of long-term unemployed in Tower Hamlets

The number of people on long-term unemployment benefit has risen in Tower Hamlets in the last six months.

This is despite employment figures improving across England as a whole.

In November last year, there were 2,305 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for 12 months or more in the East End and that figure rose to 2,545 in May.

As a whole, more than 10,000 are now claiming the allowance in the borough – among the highest number in London - figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show.

Employment minister Chris Grayling has launched a new work programme which will pay private firms to help get people into work.

In a massive change to the current system, the firms will only get the money when people on their schemes have landed jobs.

Those out of work for more than a year will be prioritised and groups that get the hardest to work off benefits will receive more cash.

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Some say boroughs like Tower Hamlets have suffered disproportionately by government cuts because the council and NHS trust are among the largest employers.

With savings of �70 million over three years, the council has axed 500 jobs and hundreds more could be affected with its current plans to outsource its IT and back office services.

The rise in the numbers on unemployment allowance could be partly due to people on other benefits, like lone parents on Income Support, being shifted to Jobseeker’s Allowance, according to the department.

Mr Grayling said: “Thousands of people in Tower Hamlets have been left to languish on benefits over the years, without the support they need and deserve.

“They may feel they have little to offer and the only option is to remain on benefits, but I know many of them want to return to work and now they will have the help they need to do so.”

He added that the new programme will “suit individual needs” and said community groups in Tower Hamlets will be able to local expertise rather than “having to follow a strict national structure”.

Groups which have signed up for the programme in Tower Hamlets include A4E Ltd, Careers Development Group, Seetec, Employment First and Skills Match at Tower Hamlets Council.

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