ALAN MAK: Fair’s success reflects strength of the local economy

MP Alan Mak, centre, celebrates his jobs fair success with students, entrepreneurs and workers for scores of firms
MP Alan Mak, centre, celebrates his jobs fair success with students, entrepreneurs and workers for scores of firms
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The Havant MP looks back on another great opportunity to get people into work.

Last week I held my third Havant Jobs, Apprenticeships and Careers Fair at Havant Leisure Centre backed by The News, and I was delighted by the record number of businesses and jobs we had on offer.

The fair’s success reflects the strength of our local economy, with firms from our area offering more than 500 jobs and apprenticeships on the day.

That means more residents in work earning a wage, improving living standards, and more money being spent in our local shops.

The positivity from Friday echoes the chancellor’s Spring Statement, which confirmed that the economy has grown by 17 per cent since 2010.

Across the Havant constituency more than 6,000 people have started an apprenticeship, 48,000 have seen their taxes cut and local unemployment is down by over 50 per cent.

Nationally, employment has increased by three million since 2010, which is the equivalent of 1,000 people finding work every day. The unemployment rate is close to a 40-year low. There is also a joint record number of women in work – 15.1m.

In addition, public finances have reached a turning point, with borrowing down and the first sustained fall in debt for 17 years, with the government achieving the target it set in 2010 to balance the books.

With the economy growing faster than expected, the government is working to give the lowest two million earners a pay rise.

Next month the national living wage will rise to £7.83, worth £600 extra a year for a full-time worker, while the national minimum wage rates for under 25s and apprentices will also rise – the largest increase in youth rates in 10 years.

Meanwhile the announcement in the Autumn Budget to abolish stamp duty for first buyers has already helped an estimated 60,000 new home owners.

It’s clear that the government’s plan for the economy is working as it continues to grow, continues to create jobs and continues to beat expectations.

That’s good news for both residents across Havant and across the country.