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Unemployment (North West Norfolk)

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 9th March 2015.

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Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Conservative, North West Norfolk 2:30 pm, 9th March 2015

What change there has been in the level of unemployment in North West Norfolk constituency since 2010.

Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)

The claimant count in my hon. Friend’s constituency has fallen by nearly 60% since 2010, to just over 900.

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Conservative, North West Norfolk

That is encouraging and unemployment in my constituency has come down by a staggering 908 in the past year, giving hope to a large number of families. Following the story in The Sunday Times last weekend, will the Minister tell the House what support her Department is giving to people seeking employment?

Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)

I read the article in The Sunday Times about an episode of “Dispatches” that is being filmed in contact centres. Contact centres do not handle emergency hardship payments, as those are dealt with by Jobcentre Plus. Jobcentre Plus staff are fully trained and no one is sanctioned without being told about hardship payments. Awareness about benefit advances is being raised at the moment, and new posters and leaflets will be coming out in March once claimants have passed on their opinions and worked with the Department to get them right.