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Employment Trends

Volume 603: debated on Tuesday 1 December 2015

With an employment level of 31.2 million, there are more people in work than ever before. Over the past year, employment growth has been driven by full-time employees and by high and medium-skill occupations, showing that we are now moving into the next phase of our recovery, with high-quality employment helping to boost productivity and raise living standards across the country.

Against the backdrop of redundancies and potential redundancies in the mining and power sector in my constituency, will the Minister tell the House what support is available to businesses of all sizes in Selby and Ainsty to ensure that the trend of rising employment since 2010 continues?

I commend my hon. Friend for his personal endeavours, including the annual Selby district jobs fair. He mentioned energy-intensive industries. We of course recognise the particular challenges that some businesses in those sectors face. We cannot change world price levels, but we will bring forward compensation and legislate to exempt EIIs from renewables policy costs, helping with cash flow and providing greater business certainty. Businesses will of course also benefit from the further cuts to corporation tax and the higher permanent level of the investment allowance.

I have been approached by constituents excited to get their first 15 hours a week job, hoping that it will lead to full-time employment. In retail in particular, however, the trend more than two years later is for more part-time employees to be recruited, but no full-time jobs to be given to those in post. Will the Minister look into this matter, and make sure that there are no perverse incentives for employers to create lots of small, part-time jobs without the opportunity for such people to progress?

The hon. Lady raises an important point. In fact, full-time workers account for almost three quarters of the employment growth since 2010. The crucial reform in the welfare and social security system is of course universal credit, which specifically seeks to get over the spikes found in the hours scale so that it always pays to move from being out of work into work and, crucially, to move up the hours scale.