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Employment Levels

Volume 613: debated on Tuesday 19 July 2016

The employment level stands at 31.6 million, which represents more people in work than ever before. Over the past year, employment growth has been driven by full-time workers and by high and medium-skill occupations, showing that the recovery has produced high-quality employment, helping to boost productivity and raise living standards across the country.

I congratulate my hon. Friend on his well deserved appointment. In Stafford, employment is at record levels and the jobseeker’s allowance claimant rate has fallen since 2010 from 3.2% to 1.1%, but employers point out to me that there are increasing skills shortages. Will he have discussions with colleagues in the Department for Education about strengthening engagement between employers and schools on that subject?

My hon. Friend, as ever, makes an excellent point. Unemployment in his constituency has fallen by 2,700 since 2010. Skills are absolutely important and I will be having the conversation he suggests.

I welcome the new Economic Secretary to his role in the Treasury. I am sure he will bring a much-needed dash of colour and flamboyance.

Employment is incredibly important in my constituency and across Scotland. Will the Treasury give an absolute commitment today that not one penny of research and development funding that goes to the wonderful higher education institutions across Scotland, and particularly in my constituency, will be lost as a result of the EU Brexit decision?

The hon. Gentleman is, as always, very entertaining. The Chief Secretary has said that we will make an announcement in due course.