Thursday, December 15, 2011

Unemployment update

The most recent figures for Acocks Green have showed a worsening against last month and the year on year figures. 1215 people are now claiming unemployment benefit in the ward - 10.8% of the economically active population. That's up 33 on this time last year and 15 on last month's figures. It sits below the Birmingham figure, but well above the national average.

Birmingham continues to have the worst record of the other core cities, with a claimant rate of 12.5%, which compares poorly to 6.7% across the Midlands and 5.4% across the UK.

This doesn't show the full picture, as it relates only to those claiming unemployment benefit, but the outlook is very worrying given the continued problems with the economy.

A million to lift you up (and down) in Acocks Green

I'm delighted to see that CENTRO have finally secured funding to improve access to Acocks Green - the busiest station on the local network without disabled/pushchair access to the platforms. It may take until 2014 to complete the work, but at least it means that those disabled spaces on one side of the station, separated by a few yards and stairs or a very long push from the actual platform, will be accessible. There's £1 million of funding coming to fit lifts to the station as part of the Department for Transport's Railways for All scheme, which was launched under the last Labour government and is planned to run until 2015. This was something that I discussed with the then CENTRO lead member back in 2008, so it is great that things have finally moved forward.

The station is great for access to the City - you can be in the heart of Birmingham in a little over five minutes - so I hope that these changes will mean that even more people will use the station to travel.