Charlie Elphicke is the Member of Parliament for Dover and Deal.
Today’s jobs figures are outstanding. There are a record 30.8 million people in work. Unemployment is down from 7.9 per cent at the General Election to 6.0 per cent now. In the last year alone, the number of people in work is up 588,000.
These things didn’t happen by accident. Unemployment is down because our economy has the fastest growth in the G7 and our welfare reforms are working. Reforms such as the Benefit Cap and schemes such as the Work Programme are encouraging people into jobs. Britain is getting back to work.
These fantastic figures will be a central part of our case for a Conservative majority government after May 2015. Meanwhile, the Labour Party remains trapped in denial on jobs. They are unwilling to welcome the rapid falls in unemployment and the stunning rise in jobs. Instead they seek to stir up apathy and spread myths about the figures.
Almost a year ago to the day, Ed Miliband claimed in Prime Minister’s Questions that:
“It is good that our economy is creating more jobs, but the problem is that too many of them are part time, low paid or insecure.”
This is typical of the type of attack Labour use. That too many of all the new jobs are actually part time or zero-hours that these jobs figures only work for men, not women and that most of the people now in work are on low pay. It’s also completely wrong.
Like Jack Frost, Labour are denying the coming of spring. And they are trying to distract from their own appalling record in Government. It’s time these myths were laid to rest once and for all.
Full-time work up
Full-time jobs account for 75 per cent of all job growth since 2010. 1.3 million more people are working full time than at the General Election. The figures have got even better since our economy has recovered. In the last year, full time jobs made up 95 per cent of the rise in employment. More people are now working full-time and full-time jobs dominate recent jobs creation.
Few zero-hour contracts
From the way the Labour party speak, you would think zero-hour contracts dominate the labour market. In fact, they only make up 2-4 per cent of all jobs. In their 13 years in Government, Labour did nothing to reform zero-hours contracts. We are already working to tackle their abuse and clamp down on exclusivity clauses to ensure zero-hours contracts are fair to employees.
Less part-time work
The number of permanent employees is up nearly 1 million since 2010. This is five times the rise in the number of temporary workers in the same period. Even better, more people who want full-time work are getting it. All the rise in temporary employees in the last year has been from those who did not want a permanent job. 148,000 fewer people are working part-time because they cannot get full-time work – a record annual fall. On international comparisons, we have a great record. Temporary work as a share of all employees is lower in the UK than in France and Germany – and amongst the lowest in the EU.
Pay is up
Getting pay up is the final piece of the jigsaw. Regular pay (average earnings excluding bonuses) is up 1.6 per cent on the year and private sector pay is up 2 per cent. Inflation has risen 1.3 per cent over the past year. This equates to real terms growth in wages. As our economy continues its strong growth into 2015, wages are expected to rise faster.
Record number of women in work
A record 14.4 million women are in work. The gender pay gap is now at its lowest level since records began in 1997.
No doubt, Labour will seek to attack these remarkable figures with the same old myths. Yet the facts nail the Labour lie. A record number of people are in work and unemployment is plummeting. The great majority of these new jobs are full-time. Increasingly, Britain is working.