Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister
David Cameron (Prime Minister; Witney, Conservative)
First, I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his generous remarks about those who have fallen, the brave police officers and the colleagues that we in the House have lost.
The unemployment figures are a good piece of news that should be properly welcomed and looked at, because a number of different things are happening: employment is up by 212,000 this quarter; unemployment is down by 50,000 this quarter; the claimant count has actually fallen by 4,000; and what that means is that since the election some 170,000 fewer people are on out-of-work benefits. What is remarkable about the figures is that they show that there are more women in work than at any time in our history and that the overall level of employment is now above where it was before the crash in 2008. We still have huge economic challenges to meet, we are in a global race, and we need to make a whole set of reforms in our country to education and welfare and to help grow the private sector, but this is positive news today.
Long-term unemployment is still too high. That is partly because of the big increase in unemployment at the time of the crash. We need to do more to deal with long-term unemployment. That is why the Work programme has helped 693,000 people already. We are prepared to spend up to £14,000 on an individual long-term unemployed person to get them back into work. We do have the measures in place to tackle this scourge.