Hackney’s youth unemployment rate soars

Youth unemployment in Hackney has skyrocketed with half of the borough suffering more than an 80 per cent rise in young people who have been claiming the dole for more than six months.

National figures show the number of unemployed young people has now topped the 1million mark – the highest ever recorded since comparative records began in 1992 – and the breakdown shows Hackney has been hit particularly hard.

There were 155 people aged 18 to 24 who had been out of work for six months or more in Hackney North and Stoke Newington in January, but by last month that figure had jumped to 280 - an increase of 125 people, or 80.6 per cent.

And in Hackney South and Shoreditch, the figures aren’t much better, with 420 young people who have been out of work for six months, compared to 240 at the beginning of 2011. That’s an increase of 180 people, or a 75 per cent rise in less than a year.

MP Diane Abbott, who represents Hackney North and Stoke Newington, blasted the coalition saying: “The verdict is in: this government is failing an entire generation. This is terrible news for young people in Hackney. The real worry will be that we are seeing the scar of long term youth unemployment return to our area.”

She was also critical of the Olympics legacy, and has written an opinion piece in The Independent today (Thursday) claiming that although 44,000 people have found work on the Olympic Park and Village – which straddles Hackney – only 8,081 of them were from the East End.

“Even when it came to apprenticeships,” she wrote, “at one point there was only one apprentice from Hackney on the entire site.”

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According to Department of Work and Pensions figures, Hackney has a total of 11,243 people claiming the dole and just 669 jobs available at the job centre.

That puts the borough at number four on the list of employment ‘blackspots’. Neighbouring borough Haringey has the dubious distinction of being number one - it has the worst ratio and tops the list with 10,598 claimants but only 468 vacancies.

Prime Minister David Cameron has so far failed to comment on the latest unemployment figures, although other ministers did their best to defend the government’s record.

Work and pensions minister Chris Grayling blamed the Eurozone crisis.