Francis Maude: Maximising the number of people in work

The focus of this year’s Queen’s Speech was strengthening the economy, creating jobs and getting people back into work and off benefits.

Unemployment is bad for society and the economy but it can be catastrophic for individuals and their families.

We’re fortunate that in Horsham relatively few people are in the position of having to claim Job Seekers Allowance (JSA). In April, there were 991 claimants in the Horsham Parliamentary constituency – that’s a drop of 13.2 per cent over the last 12 months and only 235 claimants have been doing so for over 12 months.

Whilst it’s still 991 people too many, we’re one of a small group of constituencies that has an unemployment figure of less than 1,000. In fact, Horsham is ranked 612th for unemployment out of a total number of 650 Parliamentary constituencies.

On a national level, I’m pleased to say that since the last election, the number of people in work has increased by well over 750,000 with 1.25m extra people working within the private sector. Over the last year the private sector has created six new jobs for every one lost from the public sector.

Just this month we’ve had the lowest level of new JSA claims for over four years, the highest number of vacancies for over four years and a fall in the number of redundancies. The number of people claiming JSA this month decreased by 7,300.

Readers might also be interested to know that:

There is a record number of women in work – 13.8m, up 355,000 since the General Election.

There are over 600,000 more people in full-time jobs and 260,000 extra people in part-time work since the General Election.

Of the extra people in employment in the last year, almost nine in ten are UK nationals, reversing the trend seen under Labour.

There has also been a fall of 290,000 in the number of people claiming the main out of work benefits – JSA, the Employment Support Allowance/Incapacity Benefit and Income Support for Lone Parents – since the election. Our welfare reforms are moving people closer to work because they are expected to do more to find work. Universal Credit will augment these successes in the future.

None of this is easy but we’re doing a lot to maximise the number of people in work, whether it’s welfare reforms, back to work programmes, boost to skills programmes or apprenticeships.