Unemployment down 50k
Ministers have hailed the latest figures showing a fall in unemployment as a “real landmark”.
Official figures show the number of people out of work dropped by 50,000 to 2.53m between June and August, with employment reaching a record high of almost 30m.
The Office for National Statistics also revealed the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance fell by 4,000 to 1.57m.
At Prime Minister's Questions today, even Ed Miliband gave a cautious welcome to the news. The Labour leader said: "The unemployment figures today are welcome, particularly the fall in youth unemployment."
But he added: "There are too many people still looking for work... can the Prime Minister tell us why he believes this fall in short-term unemployment is not yet being matched by long-term unemployment?"
David Cameron hit back: "I would just remind him in the last two years of the last Labour government long term unemployment almost doubled, so I think we should hear about that before we get a lecture... It is also noticeable that 900,000 people have started apprenticeships."
Earlier today, Employment Minister Mark Hoban welcomed the seventh consecutive month of falling unemployment, but stressed that more challenges lay ahead.
He told BBC News: “What we see in these figures is a real landmark. You’re right, there are some challenges here, we see more young people in work than ever before. Youth unemployment has actually fallen this month.
“But there is as you say a challenge about getting young people who’ve been unemployed for a long term into work. That’s why we’re introduced the Youth Contract, to help people do that."
However, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne said ministers should not be celebrating yet: "Today’s fall in unemployment is a welcome chink of light in a very bleak economic outlook. But frankly, when the welfare bill is spiralling by over £24 billion over this parliament, ministers are wrong to be breaking out the bunting."