The latest figures show that unemployment was down by over 45,000 nationally in the first quarter of this year and UK exports rose by an impressive £50 billion during 2011. This is encouraging news combined with the fact that locally, hundreds fewer people claimed unemployment allowances in April than during March.
There is also good news with many world class businesses choosing to locate in our town or expand their existing operations in Crawley. This demonstrates our Borough’s business appeal with our fantastic transport links and increasingly skilled work force. We have recently had Tesco’s; Nestle, Virgin Atlantic and Thameslink all announcing the creation of new jobs in our town. This certainly exhibits confidence in our local economy.
This Government has a credible plan to rescue our economy from the mess inherited from the last Labour administration and these latest figures indicate we are on the right course of action.
The deficit reduction plan has won the confidence of the financial markets, ensuring interest rates stay low and keeping Great Britain out of the global debt storm. However, we still face significant international uncertainty so we need to hold firm on our current economic strategy and continue to do everything we can to ensure unemployment continues to fall.
The solution is to get the banks lending; create the most competitive business tax regime in the developed world; help small businesses and free them from unnecessary bureaucracy and support business investment through Enterprise Zones.
It’s also about helping people back into work by offering apprenticeships and work experience; investing in skills; driving up standards and discipline in our schools and creating academies, Free Schools and University Technical Colleges. These institutions are where our children can get the skills they need to get good jobs in the modern, global economy and all have been established in Crawley over the past two years.
These policies are all starting to show results locally with an increase in the number of jobs and a 74% rise in apprenticeships over the last year in Crawley. The national deficit is also down by a quarter since this Government came to office, 332,000 people are currently being helped back into work by the Work Programme and the £1 billion Youth Contract is providing work opportunities for nearly half a million 18-24 year olds.
The UK is now one of the best places in the world to set up a new business with corporation tax slashed to one of the lowest rates in the G20 and the National Loan Guarantee Scheme, which helps businesses access cheaper finance by reducing the cost of bank loans, now up and running.
Though this is all good news, as someone who has been unemployed myself in the past, I appreciate that for those out of work, this is of no comfort and it remains 100% of a problem. This Government is doing all they can to get Great Britain working and encourage growth and the first signs of success are beginning to show.