Jessie demands urgent action to tackle unemployment freefall in Tees Valley after speaking with food and drinks industry leaders

UNEMPLOYMENT in the Tees Valley has sky-rocketed, with 12,375 job losses since March, figures published today by the House of Commons library reveal.

Today’s figures, which record the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits, show that since March there has been a colossal jump in claimants of 76% in Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland and 79% in Stockton South.

Jessie Jacobs, Labour candidate for Tees Valley Mayor, said, “Unemployment was already climbing in the Tees Valley for months before the pandemic hit. We were already at the precipice before coronavirus: these figures show that it has well and truly launched us over the cliff edge. As furlough comes to an end, things are only set to get worse.

“Speaking with food and drinks businesses today, there are great fears over the end of furlough and a second lockdown with one telling me, many in his industry are contemplating shutting up shop.

“More money needs investing in the everyday economy, in moving retail businesses on line and preparing the food and drinks industry for an outdoors economy. And we must see a sector specific furlough scheme introduced.

“There is a gaping unemployment gap that is growing wider by the day, and the couple of hundred jobs being created under the Tory Mayor barely scrape at the edges.

“Each new job the Mayor claims to have created has cost £100,000 – some of which are yet to come to actual fruition: this is just not good use of public money at a time when those jobs are so desperately needed”

“We need serious and immediate strategic investment in our local area to generate the jobs that our communities desperately need.

“Tees Valley deserves better than this. Now more than ever before, we need a Mayor who will create jobs for the many, not the few.”