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Employment Trends

Volume 604: debated on Tuesday 19 January 2016

Employment stands at 31.3 million, which means, as I have just said, that more people are in work than ever before. In the past year, growth has been driven by full-time employees in high and medium-skilled jobs, showing that we are now moving to the next phase of our recovery, with high-quality employment, and a boost in productivity and living standards nationwide.

I thank the Minister for his reply. In my constituency, youth unemployment has halved in the past year and it is now lower than for the whole of the west midlands and the country. Does he agree that this excellent news for Telford shows that the economic plan is working?

I am delighted with that news from my hon. Friend’s constituency, and I do indeed agree with her. Across the west midlands, youth unemployment has fallen by almost a quarter on the year, with the rate now returning to pre-recession levels. The west midlands saw the fastest growth in full-time average earnings among all the English regions, and there are some 140,000 more people in work since 2010.

One of the leading employers in Stoke-on-Trent is the ceramic industry, and part of the growth in recent years has been due to the anti-dumping ruling by the EU on subsidised Chinese imports. Shamefully, the British Government opposed that. Will the Minister now commit the Government to supporting the renewal of that anti-dumping ruling when it comes up?

The Government do of course raise all issues to do with dumping and unfair trade practices as and when they come up. I will be happy to look in further detail at what the hon. Gentleman says about ceramics in Stoke-on-Trent.