Kevan Jones, Member of Parliament for North Durham, has expressed serious concerns at the latest unemployment figures released today for his North Durham Constituency.

Figures released by the ONS show that the Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimant rate stood at 7.2% in North Durham in April, up from 6.2% at the same time last year, and well above the current national average of 5.5%

Mr. Jones said, “I am deeply concerned about the continuing high-levels of unemployment in my constituency and across the North East.

“The government may have welcomed the latest national figures but there is little cause for optimism here in North Durham. Compare the statistics in my constituency with those in seats such as Wokingham in the South East, and it is clear who is being hardest hit by the lack of a strategy for jobs and growth. Whilst Wokingham has enjoyed relatively low and stable levels of unemployment, with the claimant rate not rising above 1.8% in the last year, North Durham, and the North East as a whole, continues to experience rates of unemployment well above the national average.

“The unemployment benefit rate has increased significantly over the last twelve months, and that is before local authority and public sector redundancies, due the government’s programme of cuts, really start to bite. The rise means there are now 381 extra individuals and families in my constituency suffering as a result of the policies of this government.

“The government must change course and do more to stimulate jobs and growth in the North East.”

Across the North East as a whole, the total number of JSA claimants stood at 94,253 in April, a rate of 8.1%, up from 7.3% in April 2011.