Jobless toll has doubled

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Since April 2008, the number of people out of work has risen from 3,000 to almost 6,000.

But while the number of employees with top-grade qualifications is below average, there are fewer than average with no qualifications at all.

A new 86-page economic assessment says the future lies in creative and digital industries, and making the most of Calderdale’s countryside and heritage, which is seen as a unique selling point, attracting three million visitors a year.

The report will be used to influence local, regional and Government decision-makers as they seek to improve the economic well-being of the district, according to Calderdale Council’s economy and environment director Ian Gray. In a report to council leaders he said: “It is intended to help deliver sustainable economic growth and enhance the environment and social welfare, and avoid greater extremes in economic cycles,”

There are about 8,100 businesses in Calderdale, employing about 82,000 people, mainly in manufacturing and financial services but the district is heavily reliant on just five firms.

High dependence on just two job sectors makes Calderdale “one of the vulnerable economic areas in the country”.

“However, it does have a low proportion of public sector employment, which means it might not be as adversely affected by public sector spending reductions as some other areas in the Leeds City region.”

Since the April 2008, the number of people out of work has risen from 3,000 to almost 6,000.

“But the district has a high number of new small and medium-sized businesses, many with high growth potential which should be encouraged to help the economy to grow and to become more resilient.”

The assessment says the number of young people and older people is set to grow significantly and inward migration should continue to rise.

There is a shortage of developable land, shopping centres need to modernise and improving roads and public transport would bring “significant economic benefits.”

“Calderdale has a low proportion of job-related training which means businesses may not be achieving their full potential.

“And addressing worklessness must remain a priority if the gap between poorer and better off parts of Calderdale is to be narrowed.”