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Ian Austin leads calls for Dudley university after benefit claimants rise

By Jamie Brassington | Dudley | Politics | Published:

The number of unemployed people who are claiming benefits living in a Black Country borough is double the national average, according to an MP.

Ian Austin

Dudley North MP Ian Austin said the number of people claiming benefits, who are aged between 16 and 64, is 6.8 per cent.

This is twice the national average, Mr Austin continued, which is 3.4 per cent.

He obtained the figures from the House of Commons' library.

Mr Austin, who is now an independent MP after quitting Labour, said: "These numbers are very worrying for people in Dudley. Every week people get in touch with me saying that are struggling to make ends meet and that they cannot find stable employment.

“I have always said that we need to make education Dudley’s number one priority so that people have the right skills to attract new businesses and jobs to replace those we have lost in traditional industries.

“I am delighted that there will be a new Institute of Technology in the heart of Dudley, but I think we can always do more and I want to see a University Campus in the town.

“Technology is going to change our lives and the whole world faster than ever before. There'll be massive growth and lots of well-paid jobs in new hi-tech industries over the next 20 years. At the same time, lots of jobs will also disappear. Today’s figures show how important it is to make sure people have the right skills to adapt to a changing economy.”

His office said that stats also show the number of people out of work continues to rise.

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A spokesman for his office said: "The number of claimants in Dudley North constituency is 310 higher than February 2018 and 75 higher than February 2019.

"Again, this is against the national trend, which saw an overall drop in unemployment of 35,000 in the last quarter."

Mr Austin quit Labour over his concerns about how the party had become under the leadership of leader Jeremy Corbyn.

To contact Mr Austin, email him at ian.austin.mp@parliament.uk

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Senior Multi-Media Journalist - @JamieB_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star. Contact me at jamie.brassington@expressandstar.co.uk.

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