Local MP welcomes latest unemployment figures

Unemployment in the Lewes constituency is down and this is being replicated nationally, with the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance at its lowest level since January 2009, according to Lewes’s MP Norman Baker.

The most recent unemployment figures show that the number of those unemployed in the Lewes constituency has fallen by 908 from October last year. The number of people in work nationwide has increased by 378,000 in the last year to a record breaking 29.95m

The unemployment rate has also fallen to 7.6%, down 0.2% and figures also show that unemployment has dropped by 48,000 in the last year, and long term unemployment has reduced by 19,000 in the last three months.

Norman says: “It is pleasing to see we appear to be coming out of the economic downturn, both at a national level and in the local area. Nevertheless, we must of course not be complacent and have to continue to stimulate job creation because times continue to be tough, but these local unemployment figures, which have been replicated nationally, are encouraging. 

“The Liberal Democrats in Government have helped business create more than a million private sector jobs, and now we are working to help create a million more. This recovery would not be happening without the Liberal Democrats in Government.”

Courtesy of Viva Lewes: Norman Baker on reshuffles

The cliché goes that a week is a long time in politics and it certainly was for me at the start of October. I began the week quietly as a transport minister and then came the reshuffle. This may be the Bonfire season but fireworks started early in London, with much of the press seemingly apoplectic about my elevation to No 2 at the Home Office under Theresa May. Journalists from the right wing, and what’s left of the Blairite lackeys, were spluttering in my direction.

Everything negative they could find was dug up and pasted together (and everything positive omitted), even if it was untrue or just general playground abuse. I watched with detached interest this somewhat hysterical behaviour. Why are they so angry? Could it be they don’t want a campaigning liberal in the Home Office?

Meanwhile, I was pleasantly taken aback to receive lots of congratulations, good wishes and messages of support from MPs from all corners of the Commons, including ones I barely know, and lots from constituents and general members of the public too. It was a curious week. I have not been able to reply to these personally, so perhaps I can say a big ‘thank you’ through this column. Actually, on the odd occasions when I have been under sustained national attack for something or other, my constituents have always given me their support, which has meant a lot to me.

The reshuffle had been on the cards (ho,ho) since July but had been delayed a couple of times by events, not least Syria. When it came, I received a phone call asking me to be in the Deputy Prime Minister’s office by noon, a physical impossibility given that the call was at 10:30am and I was still in Lewes that Monday morning, so a chat on the phone ensued, after which the Prime Minister rang to discuss the post and wish me well.

So it was up to the Department for Transport to clear my desk and thank the ever-so-helpful civil servants in my private office, and say farewells. By 5pm, I was over at the Home Office, meeting my new team, and having an initial discussion with the Secretary of State. The first few days were largely occupied by briefings with the need to get up to speed quickly with a whole new area of government. I had shadowed the Home Affairs portfolio before, but that was way back in 2001, so there was, and still is, a huge amount to learn. The first immediate challenge was having to lead on the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill in the Commons the following Monday, less than a week after my appointment. Now the next 18 months beckon.

Economic recovery wouldn’t be happening without Lib Dems in government, says MP

Local MP, Norman Baker, has welcomed the news that UK economic output rose by 0.8% between July and September, according to figures released today by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). The data builds on a 0.7% GDP rise in the April-June period and is the best quarterly performance since 2010.

A million more people are currently in work compared to early 2010, according to the ONS, and across the UK the number of unemployed people in the UK has dropped by 18,000 in the last three months. These positives can also be seen in Norman’s constituency, where the number of those unemployed has fallen by 283 between September 2012 and September 2013.

Norman has also been contacting local businesses to promote the benefits of apprentices, as part of the Lib Dems’ ‘Million Jobs’ campaign. This followed Norman’s announcement in March that there were 540 apprenticeships in the Lewes constituency for 2011/12 which was a 116% rise since the last year of the Labour government in 2009/10.

Norman says:

“The economic recovery is really good news for hard-pressed local people, but let us be clear this recovery would not be happening without the Lib Dems in government. Firstly by forming a Coalition in 2010 we provided the country with the political stability from which to recover. Secondly, the policies the Lib Dems have enacted have actively aided the recovery. These include:

  • Giving a £700 tax cut to more than 20m working people and lifted 2.7m of the poorest workers out of paying Income Tax altogether
  • Creating a record 1.5m apprenticeships, with 540 apprenticeships made in the Lewes Constituency alone in 2011/12
  • Putting millions of pounds into the Regional Growth Fund for hard-pressed businesses, £4m of which was offered to East Sussex Invest
  • Putting a levy on the banks which is due to raise £2.5bn
  • £600m Local Sustainable Transport Fund, of which £3.7m was awarded to ESCC

Norman adds:

While the Lib Dems and I are doing our bit to anchor Britain in the centre ground and strengthen the economy, we cannot afford to be complacent in the slightest. People are still struggling to pay bills and face a daily grind to improve life for their families. So, the focus must now be on bolstering the economy and making sure this recovery is sustainable.”