LATEST figures show another reduction in the number of Wirral people claiming Jobseekers' Allowance.

Statistics released today by the Office for National Statistics reveal there were 7,715 people claiming in June compared to 7,483 in May.

Birkenhead saw a fall of 100 from 3,333 to 3,233 while there were 54 fewer claimants in Wallasey with 2,444.

There were 937 people claiming in Wirral South, compared with 953 the previous month and Wirral West saw a drop from 931 to 869.

Labour Wirral South MP Alison McGovern said: “It is excellent news that unemployment has fallen in Wirral and nationally, though this is tempered by the fact that long-term unemployment has reached the highest level since 1996.

“Long-term joblessness is clearly an area that needs urgent action, as Labour has proposed through the compulsory jobs guarantee.

“I also remain very concerned a lack of full-time jobs is pushing more and more people into exploitative zero-hour contracts, which provide little financial security for households and trap people in poverty.

"The work I have done with fellow local MPs shows just how prevalent these are becoming.

“Zero-hour contracts, along with underemployment of people in part-time work who want full time work, are no solution to the very real unemployment problems.”

Although there was a national decrease in the number of people claiming JSA, long-term unemployment has risen to a 17-year high.

There are now 915,000 people out of work for more than a year, an increase of 32,000.

Just over 460,000 people have been jobless for more than two years, the highest figure since 1997.

Total unemployment fell by 57,000 in the quarter to May to 2.51m, the lowest since last autumn, while the claimant count was cut by 21,200 in June to 1.48m, the best figure for more than two years.

Employment minister Mark Hoban said: "Our welfare reform agenda is about making a fair and affordable system that incentivises work: giving people the support they need to get off benefits and into a job.

"Today's figures are encouraging, with the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance down and the number of people in work increasing."