WORCESTERSHIRE MPs say they are “deeply concerned” about the economic crisis the pandemic has caused after the rise in unemployment was revealed.

We previously reported that the number of unemployed people in Worcester has more than doubled in a year, with Office for National Statistics showing in December there were 3,655 unemployed people - a rise of 1,665 claimants in a year.

It was a similar picture for other county constituencies. Mid Worcestershire, that includes Droitwich and Evesham, had 2,810 unemployed residents last month, up from 1,080 unemployed people in December 2019.

And in the West Worcestershire constituency, which includes Malvern, there were 2,465 unemployed residents in December in comparison to the 975 of December 2019.

Robin Walker MP said: “Given the state of the economy, and that we are in such a significant lockdown, I’m glad at least it hasn’t been going up (in recent months).

"But we need to make sure that we are getting every effort behind bringing that number back down again.

“It is only really when the economy reopens, and are able to release restrictions, that we will see the strength of any bounce back there is.”

Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, said: “The virus has not just been a health crisis, it is an economic crisis as well.

"Many local jobs have been affected, especially in tourism, hospitality and leisure but many people are on the coronavirus job support scheme which can pay as little as 80 per cent of their normal income.

"That’s why it is crucial that we roll out the virus as fast as humanly possible so that the economy can bounce back after this shock.

"The local job centre has added work coaches to help people move into the sectors where there are vacancies. So far £280 billion in financial support has been paid to workers and businesses and that works out to over £4,000 per household.”

Nigel Huddleston, Mid Worcestershire MP, added: “I am deeply concerned about the economic impact of the virus.

"Over £200 billion of taxpayers money has been spent trying to protect the country from the health and economic consequences of the virus.

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“Millions of people have been put on furlough schemes, and billions of pounds has been spent on business grants, loans and reliefs to help businesses through these unprecedented times and save as many jobs as possible.

"But my heart goes out to anyone who has lost their job in recent months. We are working across government departments on economic recovery plans and have introduced schemes like Kickstart for young people and doubling the number of work coaches at job centres - all as part of the £30 billion plan for jobs.

“With the vaccine rolling out, I am confident about the future, but am well aware it will not be a smooth or easy path to recovery.”