Birmingham has had the biggest increase in the number of people claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance according to a study on the areas hit worst by the recession.
The new analysis from The Work Foundation reveals there are 12,383 more claimants in the city than last year.
Senior researcher Naomi Clayton, who produced the paper The Geography of Unemployment: How the recession has affected different cities, warned policymakers not to ignore the results.
She said politicians “ignore how recessions play out locally at their peril” and added that next week’s budget should target cities like Birmingham, which can play a part in the recovery.
Going by the increases in the number of claimants, the recession ha saffected most the large cities outside London. Birmingham tops the table of the ten worst-affected cities which also includes Glasgow and Manchester.
The analysis suggests the local authority areas that have experienced the biggest jumps in the numbers claiming benefits are the core cities of the West Midlands, the north and Scotland, and areas linked with traditional manufacturing and heavy industry that have suffered disproportionately in previous recessions.
Ms Clayton said: “Places in the eye of the storm as job losses mount are the UK’s core cities and areas associated with traditional manufacturing – places which in many cases had yet to recover fully from previous recessions before this one set in.
“In terms of absolute numbers of new people signing on for JSA, it is the core cities of the north and Midlands that are worst-hit. Perhaps more revealing, though, are the council areas that have seen the sharpest upward movements in unemployment rates. These tell a story of a more traditional UK recession: some areas which had yet to experience the economic prosperity enjoyed by others are once more showing how vulnerable they are to downturns, especially if dependent on single employers.
“Policymakers ignore how recessions play out locally at their peril. It is to be hoped that the forthcoming budget focuses much more attention on the large cities – Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham – that can drive the recovery, as well as recognising which areas need the most support to survive and prepare for better times.”
John Lamb, of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, said it was no surprise the city came top given the number of redundancies it has seen. He said the area would be looking for something out of the budget, with every sector from manufacturing to service industry represented in the city.
“We’ll all be waiting with very great interest to see what Alistair Darling is going to announce next week,” he said.
“We know businesses are closing every day and desperately need help. The last thing any business wants to do is lose its skilled workers. History shows once you lose your skill base it doesn’t come back easily.
“Most businesses are trying to avoid that but if things don’t pick up soon businesses are going to be left with no alternative.”