New unemployment figures for the North East – showing it is still the highest in the country – demonstrate the urgent need for investment in the region, said local MEP Jonathan Arnott.
“We have heard so much talk about the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ but these figures graphically demonstrate that we need action now and not just empty words.
“The gap between the North East and the rest of the country has grown under both Labour and Conservatives. The North East was 0.5% above average in 2007 and today it’s 3% above average,” he said.
Data released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has shown that the rate of people out of work rose to 8.5% in the period of May to July 2015, up from 8.1% in April to June of the same year. This compares with the national average of 5.5%.
“Unemployment in the North East has increased by 13,000 in the last three months and that is a great and increasing worry,” said Mr Arnott.
“It is also depressing to read that average weekly earnings of full-time workers in the region have fallen from a year ago, down from £503 to £496. People in the North East are known for their hard work and commitment and as regional MEP I want to do all I can ensure talk of the Northern economic powerhouse is backed up with real investment and action.
“It is all very well for those in government to bandy the term around as if that solves everything but we don’t want or need catch phrases – we want job creation and proper renumeration for a good day’s work,” said Mr Arnott.