County’s high benefit claims

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News

More people in north Derbyshire are claiming incapacity benefit than almost anywhere else in the East Midlands.

Over nine per cent of Chesterfield residents claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and incapacity benefits – higher than the regional average of 6.1 per cent and 6.5 per cent nationally.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics 9.5 per cent of people are claiming out-of-work benefits in Bolsover and NE Derbyshire also tops the national average with 6.7 per cent of people claiming.

Council chiefs have unveiled a raft of measures to tackle unemployment in the county and help people get back in to work.

Penny Melville Brown, of Business Ability, which runs a programme funded by Bolsover District and Chesterfield Borough Councils to help people start up their own businesses, said: “A lot of it is to do with the historic employment situations in areas where there was a lot of mining and heavy industry.

“There appears to be a link between this sort of employment and acquiring disabilities.”

Bolsover District Council has also launched a three-year plan to support business start-ups and over 100 people have been employed as part of the district council’s apprenticeship scheme.

Council leader Eion Watts said “The projects and plans we have, and are putting in place, are for the benefit of disadvantaged people in Bolsover District, that will help change their lives and give them confidence to go on and do better things.”

NE Derbyshire District Council is also working to attract new businesses and collaborating with Job Centre Plus and Chesterfield College to deliver apprenticeship schemes.

Allison Westray-Chapman, NE assistant director for economic development, said: “We are still seeing the legacy from the pits.

“One of our priorities is to attract new businesses to the district and support growth.

“Clearly the current recession has had an impact but there are lots of things happening. There is no suggestion that people don’t want to work they just need help to find that work.”

julia.rodgerson@derbyshiretimes.co.uk