ONLY 34 people in Uttoxeter out of more than 1,000 across East Staffordshire are currently claiming Jobseekers Allowance, it has been revealed.
Uttoxeter MP Andrew Griffiths has said he was ‘astounded’ by such a low figure for the town after he contacted the Department for Work and Pensions.
Employer adviser Jeanette Hines told him that there were 1,185 jobseekers in East Staffordshire but only 34 were actually based in the town. However, this figure does not include Uttoxeter jobseekers who are claiming other benefits.
The figures comes at the same time that it was announced that Waitrose will be creating 180 new jobs by opening a new store on the site of the former JCB factory, in Pinfold Street, as part of the JCB legacy site.
Mr Griffiths told The Advertiser these were encouraging job figures but it does not mean that they do not face further challenges to provide more in the town.
He said: “These are astounding figures, and only go to demonstrate that the government’s long term economic plan is paying huge defends in Uttoxeter.
“Overall, unemployment in my constituency has almost halved in the last four years this Government has been in power, but it is fantastic to discover that it has fallen to such a low level in Uttoxeter.
“I would like to congratulate all the local employers who have worked so hard to grow their businesses and get people back in to work.
“The challenge now is to keep the economy going so that people see their pay packets increase, and that we create more jobs so that people have choice and opportunities for better jobs.
“We currently have the fastest growing economy in the Western world, and clearly, Uttoxeter is taking full advantage of that growth.”
Chris Plant, director of Burton and District Chamber of Commerce, which covers Uttoxeter, welcomed the figures saying they show how strong the job market is in the town.
He said: “The labour market is continuing to strengthen, with employment rising, unemployment declining and the number of inactive people also falling.
“These figures demonstrate the resilience and flexibility of the Uttoxeter jobs market and points to continued strong positive growth in the second quarter of this year.
“To build upon these figures, it is important that we see measures to increase productivity and firmer action on youth and long term unemployment.
“We will address the wider unemployment figures in East Staffordshire with the jobs fair in September, it really is such positive news. Well done to the people of Uttoxeter for their determination and resilience.”
Uttoxeter mayor Karen Haberfield said: “This is fantastic news and it is great that people are getting out there and finding work.
“It goes to show that there are the jobs out there for people who want to look for work.”
Town businessman David Hunter, of Hunter Enterprises, added that Uttoxeter has a lot to offer people who are seeking employment.
“I have always been an advocate of Uttoxeter having a great commercial future and while it was going through a transition and a difficult time, we were positive there would be a positive outcome at the end of it,” he said
“With Carter’s Square being fully utilised, the development of a Waitrose and the JCB growth it shows that Uttoxeter is a great place to do business.
“There is a lot of commercial viability in Uttoxeter with it being between the M1 and M6 on the A50.”