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Commons Sense: Dominic Grieve MP on unemployment figures

Dominic Grieve

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The number of people who are unemployed has now fallen below 4 per cent. That is the lowest rate since 1975.

These figures are reflected in my Beaconsfield constituency, where there were 570 unemployed claimants in February 2019. In this area, therefore, this represents a rate of 1.1% of the economically active population aged 16-64. In the UK as a whole, the equivalent claimant rate was 3.3%.

The UK unemployment rate, which includes people who are not claiming benefits, is estimated from survey data. The rate was 3.9% in the three months from November 2018 to January 2019.

Similar economic data accompanied the Spring Statement, which the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered on 13 March. This covers forecasts for growth and focuses on public finances, but it also contained information about wages. These are growing at their fastest pace over a decade and they are forecast to continue growing faster than inflation – in everyday words, more money in people’s pockets.

One of the announcements which will have an impact on Buckinghamshire – the north, rather than the south, of the county, but it will bring significant change to this county as a whole – is further planned growth in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc. Funding was announced for housing and for affordable housing schemes.

Much of what the Chancellor said was, of course, predicated on whether there will be a Brexit deal or not. The paper you are reading will be published on 29 March, which was the original date earmarked for departure, but the House of Commons has so far not agreed one, except to say that the majority doesn’t want there to be ‘no deal’. At the time of writing the Government is seeking an extension of Article 50 to extend the leaving date.

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