Gosport MP welcomes fall in unemployment figures for region

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NEW figures show the number of people claiming benefits has dropped across all areas within the last month.

Gosport, which in November’s figures did not see a decrease, has now fallen from 753 to 734.

In Portsmouth the number has fallen to 2,661 – a decrease from November’s figure of 2,719.

Havant’s figure is now 1,274, down from 1,298, and Fareham’s 488 from 495.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage welcomed the latest unemployment figures, which show a fall in the number of people claiming jobseekers’ allowance.

She said: ‘In Gosport, the number of people looking for work has halved since 2010. This shows the fantastic work that our businesses have been doing over the past five years.

‘We have to maintain our support for rigorous education and proper skills training, so people have the skills needed to get good jobs.

‘It’s crucial for both businesses and families that we keep interest rates low by sticking to the plan of restoring sanity to our public finances.’

Chichester figures have also fallen and are now at 709, from 729. West Sussex has seen the biggest drop of 142 people, and are currently at 5,022 from 5,164.

Kevin Briscoe, chairman of the Portsmouth Committee for Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: ‘It’s great to see a continued reduction of benefit claimants in all the greater Portsmouth areas. To see the figures decreasing every month is encouraging.

‘We would like to see the number of people in employment growing more quickly, because that’s a sign of even greater confidence from business in the economy.’

Nationally, a new milestone has been reached as the unemployment rate falls to 5.8 per cent – its lowest in six years.

The figures show the number of people without a job has fallen by 418,000 in the past year.

Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘Jobs are being created and salaries are rising, meaning that increasing numbers of people are feeling the security and hope for the future that comes with a regular wage.

‘Thanks to our long-term economic plan, businesses are feeling confident about the future.’