THE Chancellor's autumn statement delivered little to be cheerful about, says long-term unemployed Hartlepool resident James Cartwright.

The 53-year-old has been out of work for two years after spending 18 years caring for his sick mother.

He is currently on a back-to-work course with Darlington-based training company Nordic Pioneer.

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Mr Cartwright, who has qualifications in administration, described the jobs market in Hartlepool as “absolutely horrendous”.

He added: “There's absolutely nothing out there.

“It's the worst I've ever known it in my life.”

After studying the details of the autumn statement, Mr Cartwright said: “There was nothing which would help me directly. At the moment everything is stalled.

“But hopefully the £5bn for the construction industry will help the economy and mean there are more jobs available in the long-term.”

Mr Cartwright said it was increasingly difficult for the long-term unemployed to find work with some companies now not accepting applicants who had been out of work for more than six months.

“For some it's even three months – it's ridiculous,” he added.

Public transport cuts were also causing problems with fewer buses travelling to neighouring towns and operating during unsociable hours when he would need them to get to and from work.

If he failed to find work, Mr Cartwright faces a bleak future. He currently receives £68 a week in jobseekers' allowance, but because he lives in a two-bedroom flat and is a single man, he will lose £22 a week to the Government's new bedroom tax.

“If I'm not able to find a job I'll be joining the line for free food at the local church,” he added.

“I've tried to change to a smaller flat but have been told that it would be more expensive. There's also a housing shortage and I'm very low priority as I'm a single man.”