Page last updated at 23:39 GMT, Friday, 10 April 2009 00:39 UK

'Sharp rise' in rural joblessness

Porthcurno: Pic Carol H
In parts of Cornwall, unemployment is higher than in urban blackspots

Rural England has seen some of the sharpest rises in unemployment during the last year, a report has said.

The Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) found more people applied for any given job vacancy in parts of Cornwall than anywhere else in the country.

The report also complains of a lack of job centres in the countryside.

Since 2000, half of all rural Job Centre Plus offices have closed. In Cornwall, a third have shut in the last year alone.

Worst cases

The report says that, overall, unemployment is lower in rural than urban areas.

But it highlights Job Seekers Allowance data for the year up to the end of January 2009 which shows that some of the steepest rise in unemployment rates took place in the countryside.

Additionally, it says, the number of people chasing unfilled vacancies in many rural districts is far higher than the UK average.

Areas such as Restormel in Cornwall and Staffordshire's moorlands, are suffering unemployment at a higher rate than in major urban blackspots.

Many local authorities have developed programmes and support initiatives to tackle joblessness.

However, the report says some rural local authorities and Job Centre Plus offices have struggled to offer retraining and support because of the distances involved and lower numbers of job vacancies.

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