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Comprehensive Spending Review (Barnsley East)

Volume 519: debated on Monday 22 November 2010

6. What estimate he has made of the likely effects on his Department’s expenditure on out-of-work benefit payments to residents of Barnsley East constituency of implementation of the changes announced in the comprehensive spending review. (25112)

Although estimates of expenditure savings are not available at constituency level, the impact of the changes has been published at the UK-wide level on the website of Her Majesty’s Treasury.

Is the Minister aware of last week’s report by Professor Steve Fothergill of Sheffield Hallam university, which showed that in areas like my own, private sector employment is unlikely to rise significantly in the next few years? Is it not the case that unemployment will increase, as will benefit payments, in areas like my own, because of the ending of the future jobs fund, the ending of the working neighbourhoods fund and the massive cuts to the local authority, with consequent effects on local employment?

The hon. Gentleman is right to stress the importance of private sector employment, which is why I looked at the situation in Barnsley East. I found that the year to March 2010 saw an increase in employment of more than 3,000. I therefore think that it is vital not to talk down economic growth, because the private sector is creating jobs, including in Barnsley East.