Hodge welcomes employment figures

Margaret Hodge today announced figures showing growth in employment and fewer people claiming benefits overall in the last year.

The minister for employment and welfare reform said there were 28.8 million people in work in June to August 2005 – the highest ever figure. However claimant unemployment rose by 12,100 in October continuing a trend seen since the beginning of 2005.

Separate figures however show a fall in the number of people claiming other welfare benefits. In May 2005, the number of lone parents on benefits was 34,000 lower than the year before while the number claiming incapacity benefits fell 41,000 over the same period.

“The last year has also seen the overall drop in the number of people claiming out of work benefits continue,” said Hodge. “Although the rise in claimant unemployment is disappointing, this has been more than offset by further falls in the number of people claiming other benefits.”

The minister said she had asked Jobcentre Plus to redouble its efforts and build on cutting the number of lone parents and incapacity benefits while ensure it is doing all it can to help those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance back into work.

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