Michael Reports: Employment at Highest Rate Ever!

Figures released this month by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that unemployment has once again fallen.

In Northampton North there are 1,586 fewer claimants of unemployment benefits than in March 2010- a huge decrease of 58%.

Nationally, the number of people working full-time has increased to a new record high at 32.26 million people (75.4 per cent).

The employment rate is now up 5.2 percentage points since 2010 and there are more than 3.2 million people in work since 2010 when the Conservatives took office.

These latest figures show that unemployment is down by 136,000 over the past year resulting in the unemployment rate is at its joint lowest since 1975 at 4.2 per cent.

This month also marks the start of the new financial year and the implementation of multiple measures set out in the Budget which will help working people.

The first of these measures is another increase in the National Living Wage, which goes up from £7.50 to £7.83 meaning that full-time workers on basic pay will be £600 better off a year. The National Living Wage was first introduced by this Government in 2016, increasing the old National Minimum Wage from £6.70 to £7.20 and this has continued to increase since its inception. It is very welcome news that not only are more people in work now, but people’s income is increasing: 2 million of the lowest paid people will be getting a pay rise. It is also important to note that wages are rising faster than inflation: weekly earnings rose by 2.8 per cent compared with a year earlier (with inflation in the same period being 2.7 per cent).

The start of the new financial year also sees another raising of the income tax threshold (the minimum amount of money a person needs to earn before starting to pay income tax).

This year the threshold will rise from £11,500 to £11,850 and since the Conservatives have been in Government, the threshold has risen massively from £6,475 to £11,850 resulting in a typical rate taxpayer having £1,075 more in their pocket in 2018-2019 compared to in 2010-2011.

It is very important that work pays and I am delighted that through a variety of measures not only are more people in work, but the people in work are seeing more of their income in their pockets as opposed to going to the state. More can still be done and the Government will continue to support working people.