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Credit crunch jobs woe in the professional sector

PUBLISHED: 11:01 22 January 2009 | UPDATED: 10:54 12 August 2010

SHATTERED DREAM: Kayleigh Howard.

SHATTERED DREAM: Kayleigh Howard.

A JOBLESS woman has been forced to drop her London dream and return home to Manchester after spending months on the dole. Kayleigh Howard, 23, of Midfield Way, Orpington, signed on last September as the country plunged towards recession and has been unab

A JOBLESS woman has been forced to drop her London dream and return home to Manchester after spending months on the dole.

Kayleigh Howard, 23, of Midfield Way, Orpington, signed on last September as the country plunged towards recession and has been unable to find a job since.

Speaking outside Orpington Job Centre last Thursday, the former sales assistant said she would leave for Manchester the next day as it was impossible to survive in the capital.

Miss Howard, who has seven A to C GCSEs including English and Maths, said: "I like it here, I have a lot of friends, but I can't stay just for them.

"The cost of living here is ridiculous. I pay £400 to rent a room and bathroom in a family's house. Back home I could rent a house for that.

"It stresses me out because I am constantly overdrawn. I've now sold my TV for £150 and most of my belongings.

"It's made me feel pretty depressed because I get into my room and I don't have anything."

In spite of regular advice from 'helpful' staff at the job centre, Miss Howard has had no successful applications and in recent weeks found that employers don't even seek interviews.

On Christmas Eve a year ago she quit her job at Game, in Bromley High Street, expecting to be able to find new employment.

She now regrets her decision as she believes there is more competition to find work.

Ever since the financial crises spiralled out of control after August, the number of job seekers in Bromley has risen by 15 per cent to 3,922 registering unemployed each month.

Between August and September last year, Bexley job centres saw a 17 per cent jump up to 3,629 registered jobseekers, whereas Greenwich's saw a 12 per cent rise to 5,124.

Chris Nicol, manager of job centres in south-east London, said the majority of Bromley's new unemployed were commuter-belt professionals.

He said: "We're seeing different types of people coming in, people with professional backgrounds like solicitors and people in the financial sector.

"However this is not a stagnant position. In Bromley and Orpington about 75 per cent of people who signed on in the last six months have found work."

He added: "There is still a lot of dynamism, but obviously the economic future looks like it is going into a down turn. The number of people finding work is starting to slow."

The British Chambers of Commerce predict that the UK's 1.9 million unemployed will swell to 3.1 million by summer 2010.

Last Thursday London Mayor Boris Johnson reintroduced the half-price bus and tram fares for registered jobseekers, which he scrapped upon entering office.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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