FURTHER economic gloom has descended on Macclesfield as new figures reveal the highest number of jobseekers in a decade coupled with a huge leap in home repossessions.
The depressing figures have prompted the town’s MP to describe the impact as "the worst since the Second World War".
As the new Cheshire East authority announces employment service budget cuts, the number of residents claiming unemployment allowance across the borough has almost DOUBLED in the last year to 1,934 people – the highest level since 1997. And last year, home repossessions jumped by more than a third (35 per cent) as compared with the year before.
Sir Nicholas Winterton, MP for Macclesfield, said it was the worst economic climate he had seen in nearly 40 years of office, which will hit the borough harder than many other areas.
Jobseeker claimant figures in Macclesfield have soared, with 2.1pc of the borough on the register – almost twice its level of 1.1pc (969 people) at the start of 2008.
A total of 965 more are in the benefits queues than last January, according to the data, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
According to a report by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), there were 56 mortgage possession orders made in Macclesfield in the fourth quarter of 2008 – an increase of 27pc compared to the same period for 2007.
For 2008 overall, there was an increase of 35pc compared to the previous year.
Sir Nicholas said: "I’m saddened and deeply concerned. This is fairly typical of what’s happening throughout the UK, but of course, that’s no excuse or consolation. It is particularly hard for Macclesfield, because Macclesfield has historically avoided the worst part of each economic downturn we have seen in the past. Certainly, this is much harder in Macclesfield than any other recession I have experienced in nearly four decades as MP, and the worst since the Second World War."
And Macclesfield’s Job Centre seems busier than ever this week.
Out-of-work paint sprayer Andy Poynton, 50, walks from his Bollington home to Macclesfield Job Centre three times a week in a bid to find employment, because the bus journey would cost just too much money.
Bachelor Andy, who has been out of work for 12 months, said: "There are more people applying for each job than there used to be. Now there’s around 50 people going for some jobs.
"I get a jobseekers’ allowance of £60 a week which is near enough impossible to live on. I’ve got rent, water, TV licence, all the usual stuff, and am also trying to save some money each week. I can’t really socialise or go out and have cut back."
And single mum Melanie Butson, 32, from Macclesfield, funded herself through college to qualify with an HNC in countryside management, but now can’t find a job.
Melanie, who wants to be a countryside ranger, said: "There used to be a job club in Macclesfield where they would help you with CVs and help you apply for jobs, but it’s not there anymore. I think it lost funding."
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