BALEARIC minister for Employment and Training, Margarita Najera, confirmed yesterday that some 10'000 of the projected 60'000 unemployed people in the Islands will be unable to claim benefit this autumn.

In response to questions from the General Workers Union (UGT) which had produced even more pessimistic projected unemployment figures (70'000) for October this year, Najera said that her statistics incorporate “an extra 10 to 12'000 over and above the normal 50'000” who make claims for social security payments once the tourist season is over and the hotel industry winds down. She said that the inflated numbers are a reflection of the current economic difficulties being experienced by the country as a whole, made even more acute by the slump in the construction industry. The reason, she said, that there is such a high figure for people who will be unable to qualify for benefit is that in order to claim payments, a person must already have been employed for a stipulated period of time to become eligible for state benefit. Balearic President Antich, said Najera, has announced measures to be put in place to help those who are not eligible and particularly the most needy in terms of food and shelter.

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