Job Centre Plus says ‘good news’ for January as more companies look to recruit in North Devon and Torridge

The rush of Christmas jobs is expected to cause unemployment figures to fall in North Devon and Torridge.

There was a slight increase in the numbers claiming Job Seekers Allowance in November, but Job Centre Plus is certain these will fall again in December.

Work coach Judith Hill said there was more good news for January, with the new Brewers Fair opening at Atlantic Park in Bideford looking for 42 positions, with no 'zero hours' contracts.

She also referred to the proposed new retail park at Roundswell, which the Gazette revealed last week and could account for some 250 jobs.

She added: "There's planning permission waiting for approval for more than 1,000 new homes around North Devon, which will provide jobs for construction workers.

"Asda (Barnstaple) are still recruiting for their new build. Most of the job opportunities are in retailing, care and construction at the moment."

The total claimants in North Devon for November was 500, with 485 for Torridge, both slightly up on October.

Ms Hill said claimants on the new universal credit system of benefits were not numbered among the figures because most had some form of work.

She said it was slowly being rolled out in the area and added: "The universal credit reduces as your wages take over, so it seems to be doing what it's expected to do.

"The mantra is 'a job, a better job, a career'. One of the things I found is the whole atmosphere is a lot more positive as people are being encouraged to take whatever jobs they can. They work closely with their work coaches and support is tailored to the individual.

"The roll out is fairly slow and it is still coming in to the North Devon area."