Employment, the economy and the Spending Review

 

As the economy continues to recover, there has been further good news for Shropshire’s employees and employers.  The latest figures show yet another drop in the number of unemployed people nationwide. The Claimant Count dropped by 140,559 to 759,306.  We can take great pride in the progress we have made in North Shropshire where the claimant count stands at 709, 1.4% of the economically active population down from 3.9% in 2010. 

There are now 31.21 million people in work. Employment has increased by 419,000 over the last year. Unemployment is down 210,000 compared to 2014. These are record breaking figures.  Nationally there are nearly 2.5 million more private sector jobs and there are over 900,000 more businesses. There have been over 2.3 million new apprenticeships since 2010 giving people the chance to learn the skills they need to get on in life.   North Shropshire has a great number of excellent businesses both small and large.  These make an enormous contribution to the local and national economy.   As the economy grows, businesses grow too and many sucessful local firms are expanding.

The Spending Review delivered by the Chancellor on 25th November details how this Government is repairing our economy and ensuring the UK is well placed to trade with our neighbours and open up new markets around the world. The latest edition of the OECD Economic Outlook from November 2015 forecasts that we will be the joint fastest growing major advanced economy this year.  These results have not been achieved overnight but are instead a result of efforts by large and small businesses across the country.  Private sector growth has been vital in the economic recovery.  More than 2 million new private sector jobs were created in the last Parliament but there is further to go. 

The deficit is down by more than half but there is still a long way to go to build a budget surplus by 2019/2020. We are still borrowing £130,000 per minute.  We must continue reducing government spending as a percentage of GDP. Growth should be driven by business, investment and exports, not by government for our children and grandchildren’s sake.

We must not be complacent as there is still much more we can do. Every one of the 1.75 million people unemployed is a personal tragedy for that individual and their family.  The Government will use the Spending Review to set in place measures such as an apprenticeship levy so we can deliver 3 million apprenticeships.  

There is always more to be done and I know that the entrepreneurial spirit in North Shropshire will help the local economy continue to grow and achieve the ambition of full employment which is an absolute for the Government and an aim I support wholeheartedly.