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Out-of-work Benefits

Volume 560: debated on Monday 11 March 2013

22. How many people are in receipt of out-of-work benefits; and what assessment he has made of the level of inactivity in (a) Stafford constituency and (b) England. (146868)

The proportion of people who are in work or looking for work is the highest for more than two decades, and the number of people who are claiming the main out-of-work benefits has fallen by 230,000 since 2010. In Stafford, about 5,000 people are claiming one of those benefits, which is down on the year and down since 2010.

Last month, inactivity fell to the lowest rate since 1991 at just 22.3% of the working-age population. What has contributed to that fall?

There is a range of factors, including the resilience of the private sector in creating jobs and the fact that people are able to work more flexibly and thereby manage health conditions and look after children while working part time. The Government have had a relentless focus on using welfare reform to encourage more people to look for jobs and move into work. The benefit of that is starting to flow through.