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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