Kate Hollern – 2023 Parliamentary Question on Unemployment Levels in Towns and Cities

The parliamentary question asked by Kate Hollern, the Labour MP for Blackburn, in the House of Commons on 6 March 2023.

Kate Hollern (Blackburn) (Lab)

14. What estimate he has made of levels of unemployment in towns and cities. (903881)

The Minister for Employment (Guy Opperman)

The January Office for National Statistics labour market statistics publication shows that payroll employment reached a new record high of 30 million in January 2023. That is, of course, higher than at any stage under the last, or any, Labour Government.

Kate Hollern

We hear of a record number of vacancies, yet so many who are looking to get into work are out of work. In Blackburn, the claimant count among 18 to 24-year-olds is at 7.9%, against a national rate of 4.6%. What is the Minister doing to bring down barriers to work such as unaffordable childcare, transport, a failed apprenticeship scheme and a levelling-up agenda that is just not meeting the skills agenda?

Guy Opperman

The hon. Lady should be aware that last Tuesday there was a jobs fair in her constituency. There were 59 exhibitors, and 900 customers attended the event. They provided fantastic feedback on the support and interventions given. If she did not attend that particular jobs fair, she might want to go to “March into manufacturing” on 21 March, an upcoming jobs fair in her patch.

Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)

We started the sitting with a non-party political point, so may I continue in that mode? I absolutely agree that those on the Opposition Benches want to reduce the level of unemployment. Unfortunately, their policies do not follow. Does the Minister agree that every single Labour Government have left unemployment higher than when they came to office?

Guy Opperman