I am happy to hear that unemployment in the UK is continuing to fall, according to the latest official figures. For the first quarter of this year, the unemployment rate was at its lowest in seven years, down by 35,000 from the final quarter of last year, to 1.83 million. This means that the total number of people in work is 31.1 million, or 73.5%, which is the highest since records began in 1971. In North East Hertfordshire, we have seen those claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance in April fall to 668, which represents yet another monthly fall.
As for pay, the average salary for employees rose by 2.2% in the last quarter compared with a year earlier, which means that regular pay is now growing at its fastest rate for nearly four years. It is also the seventh month in a row that the rate of regular pay increases has outstripped inflation, meaning that the cost of living is now falling for millions across the UK. The Institute of Directors said that it expected real wages to keep on rising.
Since 2010, this Government has created 1,000 jobs a day, which is more than the rest of Europe put together. This is a record of which we can be proud.
At the first meeting of his new Cabinet, the Prime Minister said that this Government will ensure that for ‘every decision we take, every policy we pursue, every programme we initiate, never forget: we’re here to give everyone in our country the chance to make the most of their life.’
This is a fine way to start this new Conservative majority administration.