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November 14, 2008 1:22 PM

Local Liberal Democrats have called on the Government to do more to support businesses in the face of rising unemployment in the North East.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that unemployment rates in the region are up by 7,000 in the three months to October, compared with the previous quarter.

A total of 100,000 people are now classed as unemployed in the North East - an unemployment rate of 8% - the highest in the UK. Year on year, unemployment has increased by 23,000.

Ron Beadle, Parliamentary spokesman for Newcastle North, said: "Businesses are vital to the North East economy, particularly when the UK is in a recession.

"As unemployment hits an 11-year high it is clear that the Government is woefully underprepared to handle the economic crisis in Britain.

"In the past 12 months unemployment in the region has risen 23,000. The North East has the highest unemployment rate in the country - the Government must take action to reverse this worrying trend."