UK & World News

  • 19 March 2014, 13:47

The Budget: Wakefield Hopes For Jobs Boost

The district of Wakefield in West Yorkshire is one of the key marginal seats which could decide the next General Election.

Students and businesses are hoping George Osborne's pledge to create jobs through the economic measures unveiled in his latest budget will pay real dividends for them.

Sky News went to the key marginal to speak to people as Mr Osborne delivered his statement in the House of Commons and they identified employment as a key concern. 

The employment rate in Wakefield is 69% which is close to the national average, but the number of people claiming jobseekers allowance increased 11% last year.

Wakefield College is the largest in the district and has provided education and training in Wakefield and surrounding area since 1868.

Assistant principal Ian Wainwright, 38, is hoping for better investment in young adults and for the businesses that most need them.

"I'd like to see further investment in skills and training and support for young people while they're studying," he said.

"I'd also like to see further support for employers taking those young people on, particularly if they're small to medium size enterprises who often struggle to find the resources to fund those posts."

Frankie, 20, is taking an animal studies course at the college. She said students need more financial help from the government.

She said: "I don't think the government is doing enough. I don't get any money from the government, I get it from college. Because I'm 20 years old I have to pay for my prescriptions and my dentists stuff.

"I'm not getting any help. I've got loads of qualifications and I just want to get a job."

The number of active businesses in Wakefield peaked at 8,900 in 2009 but fell 2% between 2009 and 2010 which is close to the national trend and before the recession, business growth in Wakefield had been strong with significant increases to 2007.

In his speech the Chancellor said the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast 1.5 million more jobs over the next five years and for earnings to grow faster than inflation.

Graham Thompson set up Xamax Clothing in his garage with his wife in 1986. The company has grown since then and they moved to bigger premises last year.

Mr Thompson said the growth of the firm was being hampered by high business rates a lack of affordable finance.

"We need more access to finance," he said. "With more money we'd be able to drive the business forward better," he said.

"We also need a reduction in business rates which is almost like a tax before we've earned any money."

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