Burton urged to tackle 4% spike in joblessness

by Gazette Reporter

A 4% increase in people signing on the Live Register between May and July was recorded by the Blanchardstown social welfare office.
The number of people signing on in Blanchardstown in July was 8,196, of which 4, 983 were male and 3, 213 were female. 1,174 of the total number signing on were under 25, and 714 more males were signing on than females. This trend continued with 4,269 of the 7,022 over 25s signing on being male.
Cllr David McGuinness (FF) has expressed alarm at this increase due to the fact that it is in stark contrast to a national decline.
He said: “The Blanchardstown social welfare office recorded a 4% increase between May and July 2014 from 7,877 to 8,196 respectively. This represents 319 additional people. In addition, the Navan Road social welfare office has recorded a 3% increase over the same period with 6,085 on the register in May while July recorded 6,270.
“Tanaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton and Minister for Health Leo Varadkar need to respond to this looming crisis in their back garden. Against a national decline in the Live Register figures, Dublin West is instead increasing in terms of numbers on the Live Register.
“This information, coupled with figures released by Fingal Council Council showing that Dublin-15 businesses were given rate rebates to the value of over €3.5m, due to unoccupied premises in 2013, all suggests that Dublin West is experiencing an economic stagnation which is not being answered by Government.
“It is time for Government spin to be parked and for some real action to be initiated on the jobs issue. Dublin West is one of the most strategically important regions in the country for foreign direct investment, tertiary business activity. Any problems highlighted in Dublin West have national implications and Government should address these figures immediately.”
Speaking to the Gazette, a spokesperson for Minister Burton said: “As the councillor should know, comparing Live Register figures for the months of May and July in any given year gives a deeply misleading picture of employment trends because the Live Register increases every summer due to seasonal factors, such as persons who are on back-to-education allowance signing on for the summer months.
“The accurate way of assessing employment trends is to compare on a year-by-year basis. Last month in Blanchardstown, 8,196 people were on the Live Register compared with 8,924 in July of 2013. Similarly, in Navan Road, 6,270 people were on the register last month compared with 6,558 in the same month of 2013.
“While these figures remain too high, the Government is making firm progress in reducing unemployment, and is determined to increase the pace of this progress. That is why the Department of Social Protection will spend more than €1bn this year on work, training and education places for jobseekers to help them return to employment.”

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