Improving national employment figures

October 24, 2016


It is good to see that the Government’s economic policies are improving the employment rate across the country.

Figures show that the employment rate in the UK remains at a record high of 31.8 million, which represents 74.5% of the working-age population. In addition, unemployment is steady at 4.9%, the lowest rate in a decade.

Of course, these headline figures are good to see, but there is more good news in the detail. For example, wages grew at an average of 2.3% over the past year, which is well above inflation. This means that more and more people are enjoying real-terms pay rises, taking pressure off family budgets. Also, youth unemployment is down by 300,000 since 2010, and the women in work rate remains near its record high of 69.7%.

I am proud to be part of a Government that has been able to achieve this, and I will continue to do all I can to improve the lives of people in North East Hertfordshire, and across the country.

The National Citizen Service in North East Hertfordshire

December 15, 2015

I have been a supporter of the National Citizen Service since it was first piloted in 2011. It is aimed at training the community leaders of the future, by teaching young people aged 16 and 17 the value of volunteering, personal resilience, life skills, social skills, and outdoor skills, and I am glad that it has achieved such cross-party support in Parliament.


A couple of particularly enjoyable NCS moments stand out for me. The first was a couple of years ago, when I visited Hormead School to see the work that a group of teenagers had been doing to create a garden area, as part of the programme. Fifteen young people gave up several weekends to clear an overgrown area in the school playground, moving quantities of earth, levelling the surface, pegging down weed-proof lining, and spreading enormous amounts of gravel. The garden was later planted with flowers and vegetables.


The second was last year, when I met one of my constituents, George Napier, who was selected to be one of the NCS’s Leaders for 2014/15, at an NCS Parliamentary reception. It was encouraging to see young people from North East Hertfordshire achieving so much in their local communities.


An impressive 817 young people took part in the NCS in North East Hertfordshire and the surrounding areas last year, and I am keen to see these numbers keep rising.


In reply to a Written Parliamentary Question that I sent to the Cabinet Office on the subject of the NCS, the Minister told me that the Chancellor had announced the Government’s ambition that 300,000 young people should “participate in NCS every year by 2019/20 so that they can learn new skills and give back to their communities”. This is excellent news, and I look forward to the NCS going from strength to strength in the years to come.

The National Citizen Service in Hertfordshire

March 26, 2015

It’s good to hear news that, during the February half-term, 220 young people participated in the National Citizen Service with Youth Connexions Hertfordshire. As a strong supporter of the NCS, seeing that these young people have spent 6,600 hours volunteering on social action projects to help their local areas is very encouraging. The NCS aims to provide 16- and 17-year-olds with the skills needed for work, life, and the transition to adulthood, and I’m delighted that so many young people are taking full advantage of it.

The NCS’s programmes with Youth Connexions Hertfordshire continue throughout 2015 with opportunities for another 1,000 young people. I urge young people across North East Hertfordshire to get involved with this excellent scheme.