Robin Walker, MP for Worcester, has restated his call to end youth unemployment with continued support and investment for Worcester, as today’s unemployment figures reveal a small rise in the total number of JSA claimants in Worcester and overall across most other categories.
In August 2015 1,041 people were unemployed in Worcester, this represents a rate of 1.6% of all those economically active in Worcester. The number of claimants is 296 lower than in August 2014 and well under half the number unemployed in April 2010 before Robin became MP.
There were 275 claimants aged 18-24 in Worcester in August 2015, 50 lower than in August 2014 and less than half the number in April 2010 or around one third of the number when youth unemployment peaked under Labour in 2009.
Robin, raised this issue in last week’s PMQs and urged the Prime Minister to update the Chamber on his plans to eliminate youth unemployment. The Prime Minster welcomed Robin’s question and cited Worcester as an example of the success of apprenticeships but warned that the work would get harder.
Robin asked the Prime Minister:
“As MP for the faithful city, may I associate my constituents with the tributes paid earlier to Her Majesty the Queen? Worcester’s guildhall, which she visited on her diamond jubilee, will next week be hosting a jobs fair at which over 130 employers will be recruiting. In Worcester, we have seen unemployment at its lowest level ever and youth unemployment down by two thirds. Will my right hon. Friend update us on his plans and his determination to finish the job by eliminating youth unemployment?”
To which the Prime Minister responded:
“I am very grateful for what my hon. Friend is doing and for what is happening in Worcester. We have seen employment rise by nearly 2 million and the unemployment rate fall for 25 consecutive months. But we have to be frank: the job is now going to get harder as we dig down into those people who have been out of the labour market for a long time and who have challenges in getting jobs. We need to work really hard to make sure the apprenticeships, training and help is there, and that is why what is happening in Worcester is so important.”
In the week that Worcester has hosted a major jobs fair, Robin has, in the wake of today’s figures reiterated the need for the Government to continue to focus on skills and jobs.
Today’s national figures are reflect positive trends: 400,000 more people are in work than a year ago. These statistics are a sign of the success of the government’s reforms to re-balance the economy and put the country on a secure and sustainable footing.
“Whilst I am disappointed that unemployment has risen by 18 in Worcester month on month, I welcome the fact that it is hundreds lower than a year ago and close to record lows. Even in the mid 2000s when the absolute number of unemployed was below 1,000, the rate was higher than it was now due to the growth in Worcester’s population since that time. I remain committed to eliminating youth unemployment and the principle that the best way to help people break free from welfare is to deliver our long term economic plan that rewards hard work and creates growth and jobs. I am pleased that the PM has acknowledged the scale of the challenge and it is right that we should allow no complacency but we must continue to deliver our ambition to achieve full employment.”
“Today’s national job figures are to be celebrated: wages are still rising and up by an inflation-busting 2.9% – the fastest rise since 2002. The claimant count is still falling – down over 180,000 in last year. In Worcester we have more employers creating jobs than ever before and more apprenticeships offering young people the chance to earn and learn. I will do everything I can to make sure that trend continues.”
Robin will be welcoming the Business Secretary of State, Sajid Javid to Worcester this Friday and will use the opportunity show him the success of Worcester’s apprentices and key businesses, such as manufacturing firm Mazak.
Robin said ahead of his meeting with the Business Secretary:
“Backing apprenticeships is something Worcester businesses such as Mazak are doing incredibly well, I am excited by the opportunity of welcoming our very own local Business Secretary to the city to hear more about their excellent work.”
“I want to make sure that everyone who wants a job in Worcester can get one and I want to make sure those jobs pay better. We need to keep driving up skill levels through education and apprenticeships, keep attracting new businesses and investment to our city and keep improving our infrastructure so that Worcester can be an even better place in which to work.”
Notes to Editors:
To view today’s figures in full, visit the following link for Worcester’s profile:
For previous releases from Robin on unemployment figures:
To read more of Robin’s PMQ and the Prime Minister’s reply: