Liberal Democrats in Gateshead have warned that rising unemployment is a sign of the credit crunch affecting the borough.
In August, there were 346 more people claiming jobseekers allowance in Gateshead than in August 2007. The jobless figures rose in 20 of the 22 council wards in the borough.
Councillor Peter Maughan, Parliamentary Spokseman for Blaydon constituency, said, “The newly published figures are a worrying sign that the credit crunch is biting in Gateshead.
“The actual number of unemployed residents however is likely to be double the figure of 3756 which is the figure for those who are on jobseekers allowance in Gateshead. There are many people who are unemployed but do not qualify for this benefit.
“I have already launched a survey of residents about how the credit crunch and the rise in the cost of living are affecting them. It is clear from some of the replies we have already received that many residents are concerned they may be out of work soon.
“The government must act now to help people though the hard times. Rising unemployment is likely to lead to more house repossession.
“The government must step in to give councils the power to buy the homes of those facing repossession so that they can be rented back to the very same people who would otherwise be made homeless.”