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Redundancy fears despite dip in city jobless

PUBLISHED: 17:03 13 October 2010

Norwich Jobcentre Plus. Photo: James Bass

Norwich Jobcentre Plus. Photo: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2009

The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in the city fell below 4,000 last month - but firms have reported a steep increase in planned redundancies.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the claimant count dipped 48 in September to 3,978, the first time it has been less than 4,000 since February 2009.

But 587 redundancies were notified to Norfolk County Council last month - nearly double the 304 in August and the highest number since April 2009.

The hardest hit sectors were construction (350), insurance and financial services (120) and public sector (111).

Not all the notified redundancies will result in job losses as the numbers may be reduced following staff consultations.

However, only companies making more than 20 redundancies are required to notify the authority. The true number, including firms planning small numbers of job cuts, is likely to be higher.

Experts have warned the Jobseeker’s Allowance claimant count figures are likely to rise as the redundancies take effect after notice periods are served, coupled with public sector job cuts announced in recent weeks.

Chris Starkie, chief executive of economic development partnership Shaping Norfolk’s Future, said: “It is positive to see that the numbers claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance is still reducing, albeit only very marginally.

“But it does reinforce our concerns that the trend over the next few months will be upwards.

“As we know, public sector job losses have been announced, particularly at local authorities, but have yet to filter through to the claimant figures.

“Many of the people who have lost their jobs won’t leave until Christmas or the New Year.”

The claimant count in September was also down slightly in Norfolk (down 51 at 15,612), Breckland (down eight at 2,149), Broadland (down 38 at 1,293), South Norfolk (down 10 at 1,416) and North Norfolk (1,387, down eight).

But Great Yarmouth saw an increase of 31 to 2,943, and Waveney was up 10 at 2,778.

In Norfolk as a whole the figure was 15,612, down 51 on the previous month.

Separate figures released yesterday for the three months to August 2010 showed unemployment nationally at 7.7pc, down from 7.8pc in the previous quarter, while the number of unemployed people fell 20,000 to 2.45 million.

Advisers at Broadland District Council’s Employ-Able scheme, which offers training, support and advice to help people back into work, have reported a “sizeable” upturn in demand for services, including workers made redundant by the collapse of local authority contractor Connaught.

Further information on the scheme is available at www.broadland.gov.uk/trainingcourses, or contact BCTS on freephone 0800 3891113 or e-mail business@broadland.gov.uk.

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