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Tower Hamlets most at risk of unemployment in the country

PUBLISHED: 17:51 14 October 2010

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TOWER Hamlets has the highest proportion of households at risk of long term unemployment in the country, according to damning new research.

The borough’s heavy reliance on the public sector makes it more vulnerable to the colossal cuts expected in the government’s Spending Review, to be announced on Wednesday.

Factors like a high number of residents claiming benefits for unemployment and a low level of social cohesion - where neighbours look for each other - have left Tower Hamlets residents vulnerable, a report commissioned by the BBC says.

Tower Hamlets residents were also deemed to be most at risk of seeing declines in their disposable incomes.

Employment workers said they are already facing tough times getting people into work.

Hassan Hoque, who runs the development and training programme at the Limehouse Project, in Copenhagen Place, Limehouse, said: “The cuts are going to have a big impact.

“Last year we gave advice to about 3,000 people. We’ve had to cut everyone’s hours by half since then. We are turning people now because we don’t have the resources.

“A lot of the labour market in Tower Hamlets is employed by the public sector. We have a large local authority and PCT.

“Big cuts will really be felt in February or March rather than now. A lot of people are on fixed term contracts and they are likely not to have those renewed.”

Alongside the shocking statistics for people vulnerable to unemployment, Tower Hamlets came last out of 324 areas in England for social cohesion.

They were joint first with eight other London boroughs for those most at risk of having their disposable incomes reduced.

Jim Fitzpatrick, Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse, said: “We in the East End are very dependent on public investment. We need support in terms of employment and education opportunities and everyone is bracing themselves for bad news.

“It may not be completely bleak though. Firstly, the government needs the Thames Gateway development area to continue to be successful because it’s the UK’s economic driver. Secondly, they should have some element of compassion for vulnerable communities.”

Have you or anyone close to you had difficulty finding a job? Are you worried the cuts will make things worse?

Leave a comment below or call the Advertiser on 020 7791 7799.

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