Unemployment outrage on Isle of Wight as councillor disputes TUC claim

Statistics pointing to an unemployment crisis on the Isle of Wight have been rubbished by the local council.

Last week the TUC revealed 60 jobseekers were vying for every Jobcentre Plus vacancy on the island, which has been badly hit by a lack of tourism and a slowdown in the agricultural industry. But Isle of Wight council leader David Pugh defended the island’s employment opportunities and said the figures were skewed.

“[The data] was recorded when our crucial seasonal industries including tourism and agriculture are gearing up for the year ahead. Unemployment is traditionally at its worst in the winter months,” he said.

The Department for Work and Pensions agreed that the TUC figures did not give a clear picture of the job market.

“The figures quoted by the TUC only include vacancies in Jobcentre Plus offices and not across the wider economy,” a spokesperson said.

The TUC research was based on available jobs in Jobcentre Plus offices, conducted in January 2009, which found on average jobseekers outnumbered vacancies by 10:1 across the UK. The TUC were unavailable for comment.

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