HC Deb 05 April 2001 vol 366 cc242-3W
Mr. Ian Stewart

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out, including statistical 146 information relating as directly as possible to the Eccles constituency, the effects on Eccles of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [157287]

Miss Melanie Johnson

Eccles, along with the rest of the United Kingdom, is benefiting from the long-term action we have taken to build economic stability and 131 secure and stable levels of growth and employment. Since the General Election, claimant unemployment in the constituency has fallen by 812, or 36 per cent., youth 134 unemployment is down by 78 per cent., and long-term unemployment has fallen by 78 per cent.

Macroeconomic stability is being complemented at the microeconomic level by the Government's policies to ease the transition from welfare to work and to make work pay. To the end of January 2001, the New Deal for 18 to 24-year-olds had helped 843 young people in Eccles constituency gain valuable skills and experience—419 (50 per cent.) of whom had moved into employment. The Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC), introduced in October 1999, is helping to make work pay for low and middle income families. In August 2000, 2,800 families in the constituency were benefiting from WFTC.

The Government are also committed to policies that enable pensioners to share in the country's rising prosperity. All pensioners, including 17,500 in Eccles, are receiving an above-inflation increase in the basic state pension from April 2001. Single pensioners receive an extra £5 a week, and couples receive an extra £8 a week. All pensioners aged 75 or over have also been entitled to a free TV licence since November 2000—including around 7,500 in Eccles.