Fewer benefits were claimed in December

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FEWER people claimed Jobseekers Allowance in South Holland in December than the previous month.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed a one per cent drop – a difference of 14 people – for those claiming the unemployment benefit compared with November.

However, a year-on-year comparison shows a rise of 118 more people making the claim, bringing the total to 1,517.

Nationally, there are now 2.68million people unemployed, with figures at their highest for the first time in 17 years.

Coun Howard Johnson, South Holland District Council’s portfolio holder for economic development, said an economic boost could be on the cards if a number of schemes are successful.

He said: “There are things going on but it’s quite difficult to talk about them with commercial confidentiality.

“If they do come to fruition, they will create a number of jobs.”

Coun Johnson said this includes schemes already in the public domain, including a potential rail freight hub and the re-development of the Castle Sports Complex in Spalding, which is due to be consulted on later this year.

Coun Johnson added: “Times are very hard, money is not free-flowing. As a council we would love to employ more and more people but we can not.”

Across Lincolnshire, a total of 14,844 people were claiming Jobseekers Allowance in December.

According to the Lincolnshire Research Observatory, the rise of 425 people on the previous month was driven by coastal district East Lindsey and its seasonal workers.

Neighbouring district South Kesteven had just nine more people collect Jobseekers Allowance in December, with a total of 2,117 making the claim.

Boston recorded a four per cent increase when 1,340 received the payment.

l South Holland District Council’s Economic Development Unit is running a series of Jobs Opportunity Fairs in conjunction with Jobcentre Plus. The next one is at Spalding’s South Holland Centre on Tuesday, April 24, from 10am until 2pm.