Unemployment has increased dramatically in parts of the West Midlands, according to the latest official figures.
The number of people out of work and claiming Jobseekers Allowance has shot up over the past year in parts of the region.
New figures published by the House of Commons library revealed the effects of the economic downturn on parts of the West Midlands economy.
The number claiming Jobseekers Allowance in Lichfield, Staffordshire, is up from 588 to 794.
Although the overall unemployment rate remains low, at just two per cent of the workforce, the number of people claiming Jobseekers Allowance has shot up by more than a third.
Elsewhere in the region:
* in Cannock Chase, the number of claimants is up from 1,150 to 1,550, again increasing by more than a third;
* in Burton, Staffordshire, the number is up from 991 to 1,294, in increase of just under a third;
* in Stafford, the number of claimants is up from 801 to 1,041, up by almost a third.
* Birmingham continues to have the worst pockets of unemployment in the country - the three constituencies with the highest unemployment rates in the whole of the UK are in the city;
* in Ladywood, 7,101 people are claiming Jobseekers Allowance, 19.3 per cent of the workforce. This is down slightly from 7,110 a year previously, but Ladywood still has a higher unemployment rate than any other constituency;
* Sparkbrook is second, with 5,625 people claiming Jobseekers Allowance, an unemployment rate of 14.7 per cent and up from 5,452 last year;
* Hodge Hill has the third worst unemployment rate, with 3,423 jobseekers, 12 per cent of the workforce and up from 3,248 last year.
The figures come from the House of Commons library, which publishes monthly statistics showing unemployment levels in every constituency in the country.
Constituencies in Liverpool and Manchester have the fourth and fifth highest unemployment rates.
Conservatives said the Government should act to protect jobs. Chris Grayling, the shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, also called for ministers to speed up the introduction of tough “workfare” proposals, which will require benefits claimants to carry out community work if they cannot find a job.
He said: “The sharp rise in the unemployment figures in the past few months give real cause for concern, and the Government needs to take urgent steps to do what it can to protect jobs.
“We want to see better protection for otherwise sound businesses that fall into short term difficulties, and we think Ministers should accelerate their plans for welfare reform to give those who do lose their jobs much better back to work support. There is no time to be lost.”
Meanwhile, Conservative leader David Cameron clashed with Gordon Brown over the taxpayers’ £500 billion bank bailout package, which includes £50 billion to part-nationalise Britain’s high street banks.
Mr Brown, who surprised MPs by announcing the dramatic 0.5 per cent cut in interest rates in the House of Commons, warned of reforms to the way bankers were paid, and specifically an end to excessive bonuses for people who took foolish risks, in return for the extra cash for the banking system.
He told MPs: “The conditions we will lay down for support to the banks in this country includes executive performance and the way it is remunerated. We will build on the Financial Services Authority’s work, which is to ensure that excessive risk taking is not rewarded but punished.”
But Mr Cameron called for tougher measures to punish investment bank managers, saying: “No one wants banks to fail but also no one wants rewards for failure.
“Taxpayers now have an investment so taxpayers have an interest and they will rightly be infuriated if they see their hard-earned money going in bonuses that are rewards for failure.
“The other thing the taxpayer will expect is that everything possible is done to improve the regulatory system.
“One of the problems is there is no one in the system who is there to take an overall view of indebtedness in the economy.
“Will you look with a genuinely open mind at restoring the role of the Bank of England, the role that they had for decades on calling time on debt levels in the economy?
“The regulatory system needs not just the right rules but strong institutions. Shouldn’t the Bank of England be restored to its proper role in this regard so that this never happens again?”
Mr Brown said he heard what Mr Cameron had to say about the irresponsibility of people in the City and the adjectives he used.
To roars from Labour MPs he said: “I have to remind you what you said on the Andrew Marr Show: ‘What you won’t hear from this week is the sort of easy cheap lines beating up the market system, bashing financiers’.”