New benefits figures startling

July 9, 2008 12:00 AM

Figures showing startling levels of benefit claims across the country have been highlighted by the Liberal Democrats.

The statistics from the Department of Work and Pensions show the 50 constituencies and local authorities with the highest number of claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance, Incapacity Benefit and Income Support.

In some areas almost a fifth of people are claiming incapacity benefit, with tens of thousands of children dependent on a parent or guardian claiming income support.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Jenny Willott said:

"With unemployment sure to rise this year, these hot-spots of worklessness should have been tackled by Labour years ago.

"Instead we've got communities up and down the country in which over a quarter of people of working age are on workless benefits.

"Many of these areas had their economies destroyed by the Tories, and have now been abandoned by Labour.

"Ministers must invest more in personalised back to work support and training for people in these blighted communities."

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