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Jobseeker’s Allowance

Volume 502: debated on Monday 7 December 2009

9. How many jobseeker’s allowance claimants there were in (a) the UK, (b) Wales and (c) Clwyd, West constituency on the most recent date for which figures are available. (304070)

In October 2009, there were 1,582,555 jobseeker’s allowance claimants in the UK, 78,234 in Wales, and 1,603 in the Clwyd, West parliamentary constituency. Employment levels have risen since 1997 by 121,200 in Wales and 6,700 in Clwyd, West.

Almost half of the last quarterly increase in unemployment across the UK was attributable to job losses in Wales, which was particularly hard-hit by the downturn. I know that the Minister’s Department works closely with the Welsh Assembly Government in the delivery of their ProAct programme, so can he explain why in the 12 months to October this year, not a penny was spent under that programme in the county of Conwy, which includes my constituency, where there has been a 50 per cent. increase in unemployment?

The hon. Gentleman is right that I regularly meet Ministers from the Welsh Assembly Government. Over the summer, we were pleased that Wales appeared to buck the trend and be moving in a positive direction. Some people put that down to the effectiveness of ProAct and ReAct. I cannot give him a detailed answer on spending in his part of the world, but I can tell him that in the past year, employment has risen in his constituency, inactivity has fallen and the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance fell in the past month.