Amid the concerning news around rapid inflation, and the pressure it’s putting businesses and household budgets under, there was encouraging news this week about employment, with the number of people out of work nationally now lower than it was before the pandemic. In Pendle, we’ve seen that improvement too with nearly 1,400 fewer people claiming an unemployment related benefit than this time last year.
After a really difficult couple of years for young people entering the jobs market, it’s important that the rate of youth unemployment has nearly halved year on year, as the next generation get their careers underway.
One bit of news that’s really encouraging is that a target to get a million more people with a disability into work has been hit, and well ahead of time. In 2017, the government set itself a decade to achieve this but have done it in half the time. This shows that some of the barriers and perceptions around disability and the workplace are being broken down, with help from initiatives such as Access to Work and the Disability Confident scheme. There’s still more that can be done, but this is great progress.
Down in Westminster, I’ve been able to welcome some distinguished guests. Diane Springthorpe is a local legend in Colne, where in her role as Asda’s Community Champion she does so much to support good causes across Pendle. She was in London after being invited to the Royal Garden Party in recognition of her good work.
I’ve also had the outgoing Mayor and Mayoress of Pendle, Cllr Neil Butterworth and Victoria Fletcher down. They were also on their way to Buckingham Palace and found time to look around Parliament too. Neil’s been a great Mayor for Pendle and it was a real pleasure to talk about the good work they have both done over the past year.
Finally, we had some great news when eight Pendle schools received support for eleven different projects to improve their school buildings through the government’s £498 Condition Improvement Fund. This will support works from boiler replacements and rewiring, through to the expansion of Castercliff primary so they can have less crowded classrooms. Well done to all eight schools, who will be better able to offer their pupils the quality education they deserve.