Jobless total in Hertsmere at highest level since 1996

THE number of people on the dole in Hertsmere has reached its highest level since 1996. Figures just released by the Office for National Statistics show 1,646 people claimed Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) in the borough in April 2009. This is the highest

THE number of people on the dole in Hertsmere has reached its highest level since 1996.

Figures just released by the Office for National Statistics show 1,646 people claimed Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) in the borough in April 2009. This is the highest number since 1,830 signed on in October 1996 and is more than double the 755 who were on the dole in January 2008.

Robin Pyke, from the Hertfordshire Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), described the figures as "grim" and said they were heading toward the levels seen during the last recession in 1991.

"Small businesses as well as large are having to cut staff hours to try and avoid redundancies," he said.

"The FSB would have liked to see the Budget bring in a wage subsidy for employers needing to cut staff hours, to help them avoid further cutbacks.

"The FSB believes this would have been an effective measure and would still like to see it implemented by the Government."

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And for those unfortunate enough to lose their job, Mr Pyke gave the following advice: "If someone is made redundant this could be a great opportunity to become self-employed - but do get advice before committing redundancy payments as self employment can be tough as well as rewarding."

Across the UK as a whole, more than 2m people are currently out of work.