A ST Helens MP has called the first unemployment figures released since the coronavirus lockdown as "extremely worrying".

Newly released constituency-level data for April 2020 obtained by St Helens North MP Conor McGinn from the House of Commons Library, has revealed sharp increases in the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in St Helens North and the North West – highlighting the severity of the COVID-19 crisis for the first time.

The number of people who claimed unemployment benefits in St Helens North in April increased by 72 per cent on the previous month’s figure, giving a total figure of 3,820.

Young people were also severely affected, with the new data showing 775 claimants aged 18 to 24 in April 2020, up 65 per cent on the previous month.

The figures also revealed local and regional inequalities, with the rise in unemployment in St Helens North almost 20 per cent higher than the national average.

The MP called for a "national recovery plan" to deal with the crisis.

St Helens Star:

Conor McGinn

Conor McGinn, Labour MP for St Helens North, said: “These stark figures are extremely worrying and make plain the severity of the crisis facing individuals, households, families and businesses in St Helens and across the North West.

“I’m deeply concerned that areas like ours, which are being affected disproportionately, are still not receiving the support we need and deserve from central government.

“Towns and boroughs like St Helens faced significant challenges before the onset of COVID-19, which is why we’ll need significantly higher levels of intervention to plan our economic recovery. We need an immediate focus on keeping people in employment, getting cash to businesses and ensuring that the social security system responds to these unprecedented circumstances to stop families falling in to poverty.

“We need a national recovery plan - with government, business and trade unions acting together - to get those who’ve lost their jobs back in to work, education or training, otherwise we risk long-term unemployment for a whole generation.”