Delight as figures show major drop in benefit claimants

Unemployment rose by 10,000 between May and July to 1.82 million, official figures showed today.

Unemployment rose by 10,000 between May and July to 1.82 million, official figures showed today. - Credit: PA

More than 500 fewer people are claiming out-of-work benefits in Ipswich than a year ago.

The figure has fallen from 2,384 in August 2014 to 1,829 in August 2015 – a fall of 23% – according to the Office for National Statistics. In England, it fell by 19%.

John Dugmore, chief executive of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “Any reduction in the number of people claiming out of work benefits as they enter or return to employment is good news for them and good news for the Ipswich economy.

“Firms in the town are working hard in what is still a challenging economic environment and doing what they can to create new job opportunities in the months and years ahead.”

Broken down, the figures showed that 1,215 men and 614 women are claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance. In total, it is 2.1% of the town’s population, compared to 2.7% this time last year.

David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, claimed the Ipswich economy is “really starting to take off” as long-term plans “start to come to fruition”.

He said: “This is very positive news. Just looking at some of the major investment that’s happening now – at Tower Ramparts, at the Buttermarket, on Princes Street – should give us confidence that there will be more good news on the jobs front in the future.”

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Ipswich MP Ben Gummer added: “This is further evidence that our bold actions on the economy and on welfare are having an effect: unemployment is at an all time low in the town and as a result, fewer people are relying on benefits.

“Wages are now also rising significantly faster than inflation. All of this points to a brighter time for people in work as well as for those who want to get into a job.”

Salena Dawson, FSB East Anglia Steering Group Chair, said: “The jobs market continues to perform well, but recent data suggests employment growth is starting to slow. This goes hand in hand with FSB research which shows although small businesses are increasing headcounts for the 10th consecutive quarter, their confidence is not as strong as in previous quarters.

“The continuing good news on pay, up by 2.9% this month, shows that businesses are keen and increasingly able to share the rewards of success with their staff.”

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