Employment Trends

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 21st July 2015.

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Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis Conservative, Banbury 11:30 am, 21st July 2015

What assessment he has made of recent trends in the level of employment.

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds The Exchequer Secretary

Employment stands at 31 million having increased by 265,000 over the past year, driven entirely by more people being in full-time work. We are now moving into the next phase of our recovery, with high-quality employment helping to boost productivity and raise living standards across the country.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis Conservative, Banbury

The security of a good job and a regular pay packet are of fundamental importance to people in my constituency. Can my hon. Friend assure us that he will keep backing business across the country to create more jobs?

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds The Exchequer Secretary

I can. The Government’s long-term economic plan is working. Since 2010, we have seen the creation of 1,000 new jobs a day, but the job is not yet done. The Government will continue working through the plan to secure Britain’s economic future.

Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Shadow Minister (Health)

The Minister will know that the OBR analysis shows that the number of high-skill jobs in the UK economy is shrinking at a time when the number of low-skill jobs is increasing. Is he proud of that record?

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds The Exchequer Secretary

There has been a growth in the number of jobs in low and medium-skill sectors, and we should all welcome that. [Interruption.] I am sorry—I meant high and medium-skill sectors. The Government’s focus on the productivity plan is all about making sure that as we move into the next phase we are boosting those highest-value-added sectors.

Photo of Simon Hoare Simon Hoare Conservative, North Dorset

May I point out to the Minister that jobs in the agricultural, food production and dairy sector are of vital importance to my constituents in North Dorset? Will he ensure that the Treasury team do as much as they possibly can to support those vital sectors?

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds The Exchequer Secretary

Indeed. The food sector, from farming through to retail and catering, is hugely important, contributing £103 billion to the economy and employing one in eight people. In fact, food and drink manufacturing is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector. We will absolutely continue to keep its importance, in Dorset and more widely, at the front of the plan.

Photo of George Kerevan George Kerevan Scottish National Party, East Lothian

Perhaps the Minister has forgotten that unemployment in the UK rose in the three months to May—the first rise in two years—but actually fell in Scotland. Will he now go to Scotland to talk to the First Minister about her long-term plan for growth?

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds The Exchequer Secretary

With the growth and employment levels that we have seen in Scotland, it becomes increasingly difficult every day for Scottish National party Members to continue to peddle their line, although I am sure they will. It is true that in the most recent short-term figures there was a slight adverse movement. As we move closer to full employment, we will not see the same large increases in employment every month, but year on year, as the hon. Gentleman will know, the position has improved.