HC Deb 22 March 2001 vol 365 cc361-2W
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 Ceredigion constituency, the effects on Ceredigion of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [154934]

Miss Melanie Johnson

Ceredigion, 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 384, of 24 per cent., youth unemployment is down by 73 per cent., and long-term unemployment has fallen by 26 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 704 young people in Ceredigion constituency gain valuable skills and experience—341 (48 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, 1,800 families in Ceredigion 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 13,700 in Ceredigion, 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 8,800 in Ceredigion.