The latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions reveals some disturbing data on unemployment in this country.

But this sort of news will probably not come as a surprise to many as it is shown that there are areas of concentrated unemployment.

Cottsmeadow Estate in Washwood Heath Birmingham has at the last count one person, forklift driver James Beards, in full time employment out of the 106 residents of working age. Of the rest 30 are signed off sick. 50 are on the dole, 20 are on lone parent benefits and 5 on other forms of benefit.

The Egerton Street area of Oldham comes next on this depressing list with 110 of the 113 working age residents on benefits.

Then comes the Westport Road area of Burslem South, Stoke-on-Trent where 94.2% of work-age residents are on benefits.

Whalley Banks, Blackburn was next with 92.9%.

Now, it is very easy to point the finger at the residents and lay the blame at their door. But I wonder what jobs are available and if many of them are stuck firmly in the benefits trap where going back to work means a drop in income. Many may well have ended up being herded ghetto style into those areas due to their circumstances.

The government is to hold employment crisis talks with high powered retailers like Tesco and Morrisons this week. Both these have pledged jobs and Sainsbury's has promised an extra 20,000 over the next 3 years.

But one wonders where these jobs will be based. Will they be in areas that make it viable to get the unemployed in these black spots back into work? Is it the job of government to make the planning laws amenable to businesses to quickly and efficiently open job creating businesses in these unemployment hotspots? Or should business be left to flourish where it can and then expect the workforce to move as required?

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