HC Deb 14 March 2001 vol 364 c655W
Mr. Alexander

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Paisley, South constituency, the effects on Paisley, South of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [153763]

Miss Melanie Johnson

Paisley, South, 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 971, or 35 per cent., youth unemployment is down by 85 per cent., and long-term unemployment has fallen by 61 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 946 young people in Paisley, South constituency gain valuable skills and experience—487 (51 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, 1,700 families in Paisley, South constituency were benefiting from WFTC.

The Government are also committed to policies which enable pensioners to share in the country's rising prosperity. All pensioners, including 13,100 in Paisley, South, 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 8,900 in Paisley, South.