Unemployment is on the rise in Chorley.
New figures have revealed that up to 15 per cent more people claimed Job Seeker’s Allowance in September 2011 compared to the same period in 2010.
The rise represents an increase of 235 adults aged between 16 and 64 and means that 3.7 per cent of Chorley’s population is relying on Government handouts.
A breakdown shows that the figure is the highest it has been in 19 months - since March 2010 when 1,889 people were claiming benefits.
The statistics also highlight the problems facing youngsters in Chorley - with 570 18 to 24-year-olds currently claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance.
The town’s MP, Lindsay Hoyle has described it as a ‘desperate situation.’
He added: “The increase in unemployment is extremely disturbing, particularly the large number of young people unable to find work.
“Under Labour, the priority was always to keep people in jobs, but since the coalition has come in unemployment has rocketed.
“We are seeing savage cuts in public expenditure and huge numbers of jobs are being lost.
“We will feel it in Chorley too with the announcement that 1,400 defence jobs are set to go at BAE Systems at Warton and Salmesbury.
“I will continue to work on behalf of local people in the face of these extremely difficult financial circumstances, but it is clear something needs to be done.”
The data released by the Office of National Statistics shows a steady increase in unemployment in Chorley during 2011.
However, staff at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau in Market Street, claim the figures are only half the picture with more and more self-employed people struggling to find work.
A spokesman said: “Our specialist housing and debt team has seen a large increase in the people who are unable to pay their mortgages, credit card bills, council tax and utility bills.
“At least half of the people who are booking appointments are people who are self-employed and do not have access to the same benefits as people who have been in full-time employment.
“We are now booked up six weeks ahead we are seeing people right across the board - young and old.
“We are also dealing with a lot more cases of people becoming bankrupt and people engaging in employment tribunals.
“There is a lot of advice we can offer to people who find themselves in a difficult financial situation.”
Coun Alan Cullens, from Chorley Council, added: “It is an absolute tragedy for every single person who has lost their job.
“From a council perspective, we are doing everything we can to help make sure that jobs are created in Chorley and that they are given to Chorley people. We will continue to work hard on behalf of residents.”