Member of Parliament for Worcester welcomes figures showing continued low levels of unemployment in Worcester, and broken records nationally for employment overall with the number of women, people with disabilities and people from BAME backgrounds in the workforce as ONS releases employment figures for January 2019.

The recent figures confirmed that under a Conservative government, employment levels are hitting new record highs: the female employment rate is higher than ever before at a whopping 71.4%, people from ethnic minority backgrounds are employed at a record 66.2%, and 145,000 more disabled people have found employment in the last year, raising the total to just under a million – 930,000- over the last five years.

Nine years ago, when Robin first became Worcester’s Member of Parliament, youth unemployment stood at 6.3%, having soared to record highs of 7.2% the previous summer. From the moment he took office, Robin has worked hard to reverse the severe damage done to employment opportunities under New Labour and the figures released today demonstrate that Conservative policies under successive governments, have delivered much more widely in this country regardless of age, ethnicity or socio-economic background. Youth unemployment in Worcester has held its two year streak of being under 2%, and unemployment across the board has remained steadily under 2% since August 2014. The pro-business Conservative party policies backed by Robin have strengthened the labour market, with wages outpacing inflation for the eleventh month in a row and 96% of the increase in employment over the past year has been into full-time work.

The Government continues to help even more people get into well-paid employment by backing businesses to create good jobs with our modern Industrial Strategy, investing in infrastructure, training and apprenticeships to ensure that our future economy thrives. Budget measures mean 2.4 million families will keep up to an extra £630 a year of what they earn.

This Government is:

• helping people stay in work longer with our Fuller Working Lives strategy, which supports employers to recruit, re-train and retain older workers;

• and tackling inequalities in employment highlighted by the Race Disparity Audit, through targeted support in 20 areas around the country and £90 million announced by the Prime Minister to help young people.

Commenting on the new figures, Robin said:

“These figures, the most recent available, demonstrate that hard work pays off. I have always been committed to maintaining low levels of unemployment in Worcester, and ensuring that the people in my constituency have the widest possible range of employment opportunities available to them regardless of sex, disability or ethnic background.”

“These figures reflect the strength of the UK economy, and the opportunities that can be achieved through consistent investment in skills and infrastructure. With new station coming to Worcester later this year and the dualling of the southern link well under way, we are becoming an even better place to invest.”

“Apprenticeships have been vital to increasing opportunities in my constituency and I look forward to celebrating National Apprenticeship Week next month. I have recently been discussing with the Worcestershire LEP how reform to the apprenticeship levy can enable them to coordinate big businesses with smaller ones to help more small firms take on their first apprentices.”

“I especially welcome the nationwide diversity figures in employment. There are so many skilled and capable people across this country, and especially in Worcester, and I am happy to see employers taking full advantage of the great talent on offer. Since holding the disability event, I would be particularly interested in opportunities for people on the autism spectrum, and it has been exciting to see local businesses such as Titania championing these.”

“As a backbencher, I was vocal about getting more people with disabilities into work, and am happy to see this reflected in the ONS figures. In Worcester, we recently celebrated the anniversary of the Disability Confident campaign and having hosted a number of events over the years as a Disability Confident champion, the employment stats for those with disabilities is especially welcome.”

“There has been a small rise in the unemployment figures in Worcester, but they remain below 2% more than half what it stood at in the 2011 census.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For the latest ONS figures, please see: https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/lmp/wpca/1929380363/report.aspx

For Robin’s previous press releases on employment figures, please see: https://www.walker4worcester.com/category/jobs-2/