Hodge welcomes employment growth

Strong employment growth has today been welcomed by employment
minister Margaret Hodge, writes Clare

Employment has grown by 2.3 million over the past eight years
and Hodge said the most disadvantaged groups in the country had
benefited most.

“For the first time ever there are now more than one
million lone parents in work and there are now more than a million
people above state pension age who are still working,” she

Figures show that since 1997, the overall employment rate has
risen by two percentage points whereas the lone parent rate has
risen by 11 points, older people by six points and disabled people
by seven points.

“So we’ve done a lot but there is still a lot to
do,” Hodge added. “We need to reverse the recent rise
in claimant unemployment and we need to press ahead towards our
long term aim of an 80 per cent employment rate.”

“In order to achieve this we aim to reduce the numbers on
incapacity benefits by one million, increase employment of lone
parents by 300 thousand and increase the number of older people in
work by one million,” she concluded.

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