Last week, I was pleased to see the Crawley youth unemployment rate fall once again, as the latest Office for National Statistics figures show for December 2014, the number of young people out of work across our town has reached its lowest level since records began.
While this is good news, I am well aware that there is more work to be done.
This is why I am liaising with organisations such as Youth Employment UK, to see what more we can do to help our young people.
We can only have such low youth unemployment if local firms are flourishing. A number of Crawley business owners have told me that the Employment Allowance has been a significant help to them.
This is why I organised the Crawley Jobs Fairs, and I will continue to represent the views and concerns of people right across our town.
The Employment Allowance means that a company can hire someone on £22,400 a year, or four full-time members of staff earning the minimum wage, without paying any employer National Insurance at all.
HM Revenue & Customs have said that around 1,000 employers in Crawley benefit from this, out of more than 120,000 firms across the south east.
To put this in context, more than 99 per cent of British businesses are small in size, with fewer than 50 employees – being able to hire staff using this Allowance is a real help.
The actions of this Government are having a direct effect on companies and employment prospects here in Crawley; 66 local businesses have taken advantage of the Start Up Loan scheme, at a value of over £440,000. Nationally, 25,000 Start-Up Loans have been awarded, generating more than 32,000 new jobs.
I am pleased that the Prime Minister has pledged to triple this; ensuring Start-Up Loans go to 75,000 businesses, meaning even more people throughout our country will be able to start their own businesses and play their part in the recovery.
Across the country, wages are up by 1.8 per cent since a year ago and inflation is at a steady low 0.5%.
Similarly, the number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance has fallen for the 26th consecutive month, and is at its lowest level since 2010.
But we can do more; I regularly speak with the Prime Minister about these, and a host of other matters affecting Crawley – I am always keen to put forward the views of people from across our town.