Employment in the UK has increased by more than 3.3 million since 2010 and is currently at a near record high of 32.4 million. Since 2010, the UK has created more jobs than France, Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Norway combined.
I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. What support are the Government offering to build on that employment success?
That is precisely why we brought in universal credit, which made sure that people could work each hour they wanted to work and were not trapped by barriers to work, such as the 16-hour rule. We know that there are now 113 million more hours that people can work and that there will be more than 200,000 more jobs that people can go for.
Nationally, youth unemployment is down. How will the Government ensure that it continues to fall, to give young people the best start to their working lives?
I thank my hon. Friend for her question. I know how important youth employment is to her, and I know that she has visited her local jobcentre. She is quite right in saying that since 2010, youth unemployment is down by 48%. I remember when we brought in work experience, the Opposition were saying how awful it was and that it was slave labour and people did not want to do it—how wrong they were and have proved to be. We will be bringing more schemes forward, to make sure that we have record low unemployment for young people. That is what this party is about—youth and the future.
The growth in jobs is very welcome news, but at the same time, we have to tackle the rise in in-work poverty. For the first time in modern history, there are more families in poverty in work than out of work. The benefit freeze is a key part of that, and there is another £1.9 billion to come off working-age benefits in April. Will the Secretary of State be making representations to the Treasury to ensure that that does not go ahead?
As I said earlier, I will not say exactly what I have been saying in private conversations, but the hon. Lady can be sure that I will be championing our claimants and making sure that what we do is fair to claimants and the taxpayer.
The Secretary of State will be aware that the TUC announced earlier this year that just under 4 million people were in insecure work. Can she tell us how many of the jobs that have been created are in agency work, zero-hours contracts or low-paid self-employment?
The hon. Gentleman will be pleased to know that the number of people on zero-hours contracts this year has dropped by 100,000, and full-time and permanent work accounts for 75% of employment. We are creating real jobs and real growth in this economy.