Ian Austin MP

Member of Parliament for Dudley North

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Dudley MP Ian Austin has warned that the Black Country is being left behind on tackling unemployment.

The MP welcomed recent falls in unemployment but raised concerns that the gap between the Black Country and the rest of Britain was widening with long-term youth unemployment in the region now at three times the national average.

The latest figures from January show that 1.2 per cent of 18-24 year olds in the Black Country have been claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for over a year, compared to 0.4 per cent nationally. Long-term youth unemployment in the region has remained at least twice the national average in every month since 2010.

Total unemployment in the Black Country is almost twice the national rate at 3.7 per cent of the working age population compared to 2 per cent nationwide.

Austin has said that the figures show the need for investment in education, apprenticeships and jobs in the Black Country, and has written to the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith calling for new measures to tackle the problem.

Ian Austin said:

“I welcome the news that unemployment has fallen and celebrate every new job created in the Black Country, but these figures are really concerning.

“The Black Country is being left behind with unemployment falling more slowly than in the rest of Britain.

“I think this shows that we need to make education and skills the number one priority in Dudley if we’re going to attract new jobs and investment.

“I want to tackle the problem with a Jobs Guarantee to put young people who have been unemployed for over a year into work and guaranteed apprenticeships for every school leaver that gets decent qualifications.”

Full unemployment figures for the Black Country can be found here.

MP warns Black Country being left behind on unemployment

Dudley MP Ian Austin has warned that the Black Country is being left behind on tackling unemployment.

New figures show that the number of Black Country workers reliant on housing benefit has risen by 75 per cent in the last four years.

Official Department of Work and Pensions statistics show that the number of working people claiming housing benefit in the Black Country has leapt from 10,627 in 2010 to 18,640 last year.

This is despite a modest increase of just 2 per cent in the total number of people claiming housing benefit over the same period.

Working people can qualify for Housing Benefit if they are on low incomes and need support to pay the rent.

Dudley MP Ian Austin has blamed the increase on the rising cost of living, saying that more working families are struggling to afford rent and bills.

Ian Austin said:

“Lots of working families in the Black Country are struggling to make ends meet. Wages here are below the national average and bills keep going up.

“Now thousands more Black Country families are having to rely on housing benefit because their wages just don’t cover the rent.

“I want the government to help local families and bring down the benefit bill by taking action on low pay and high rent, including a higher minimum wage and a cap on rent increases.”

A full breakdown of housing benefit figures for Black Country authorities can be found here.

Black Country workers reliant on Housing Benefit up by 75%

New figures show that the number of Black Country workers reliant on housing benefit has risen by 75 per cent in the last four years.

A campaign to ensure that dead pets found on the road are checked for identity chips is to be considered for debate in Parliament.

The checks have been axed by the Highways Agency in a number of regions including the West Midlands in a bid to cut costs.

The Harvey’s law campaign has criticised the decision saying it will make it harder for owners to find out if their pet has been killed on the roads.

An official e-petition calling for identity checks to be reinstated has gathered 108,000 signatures, which means that the issue will now be considered for debate in the House of Commons.

Dudley MP Ian Austin has added his name to the application for a debate and has raised local campaigners’ concerns with the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

Ian Austin said:

“I’m sure lots of people in Dudley will be concerned that their family pet could die on the roads and they might never be informed.

“It’s unfair that checks are carried out in some areas but the West Midlands loses out, so I’m calling on the government to answer concerns in a House of Commons debate.”

Full details of the Harvey's Law e-petition can be found here.

Pet highway deaths campaign to reach Parliament

A campaign to ensure that dead pets found on the road are checked for identity chips is to be considered for debate in Parliament.


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