HC Deb 10 April 2001 vol 366 cc525-6W
Mr. Martyn Jones

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Ribble Valley constituency, the effects on Ribble Valley of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [157843]

Mr. Timms

Ribble Valley, along with the rest of the United Kingdom, is benefiting from the long-term action we have taken to build economic stability and secure high and stable levels of growth and employment. Since the general election, claimant unemployment in the constituency has fallen by 436, or 45 per cent., youth unemployment is down by 77 per cent., and long-term unemployment has fallen by 70 per cent.

Macro-economic stability is being complemented at the micro-economic level by the Government's policies to ease the transition from welfare into work and to make work pay. To the end of January 2001, the new deal for 18-24 year olds had helped 215 young people in Ribble Valley constituency gain valuable skills and experience—114 (53 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, 1,400 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 18,800 in Ribble Valley, will receive an above-inflation increase in the basic state pension from April 2001. Single pensioners will receive an extra £5 a week, and couples will 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 Ribble Valley.

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