HC Deb 05 March 2001 vol 364 cc94-5W
Ms Perham

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what initiatives embarked upon since May 1997 have benefited Ilford, North; and if he will make a statement. [152032]

Miss Melanie Johnson

Ilford, North, 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 1,071, or 48 per cent., youth unemployment is down by 85 per cent., and long-term unemployment has fallen by 75 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 December 2000, the New Deal for 18 to 24-year-olds had helped 552 young people in Ilford, North constituency gain valuable skills and experience—241 (44 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, 600 families in the constituency were benefiting from WFTC.

The Government are also committed to developing policies which enable all pensioners to share in the country's rising prosperity. As a result of the recent pre-Budget Report, all pensioners, including 16,400 in Ilford, North, 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 10,600 in Ilford, North.