Even Croydon Labour agree this Government's policies are leading to huge falls in unemployment
One of the most common complaints I get about politics is that with the different political parties making contradictory claims it's sometimes difficult to work out who's telling the truth.
Occasionally, however, the evidence is so clear cut that everyone is forced to agree. Today was one of those occasions. I reproduce word for word a press release that Labour-controlled Croydon Council has issued today (forgive me but I couldn't resist the temptation to highlight certain sections in bold). When even your opponents admit that we're seeing "huge" falls in unemployment, you know things are going well. If only they'd support the policies that led to those huge falls.
And before I get accused of complacency, there are still too many people out of work or in part-time jobs when they want a full-time one. But if we stick to the policies that are working, the goal of full employment is in sight.
"The jobs market in Croydon continues to go from strength to strength as latest figures show that the overall number claiming job seeker’s allowance has dropped by one-third over the past year, an impressive figure mirrored by 18 to 24-year-olds.
The numbers underline the steady growth the borough continues to experience and is determined to build upon as major national companies queue up to invest, the property market remains buoyant, business expansion grows to three times the UK average, and Croydon is widely vaunted as a key development hotspot for the capital.
June’s Labour Market Bulletin records another excellent month for Croydon with a reduction of 7% in those claiming JSA – a huge in-month drop that takes the number of claimants to 6,150 (down from 6,615 in May) and equates to a 32% reduction on this time last year.
Young people, too, are reaping the benefits of the borough’s growth as the 18 to 24 years group saw a decrease of 140 - a massive 9% - bringing the number of claimants in that group down to 1,280, a 33% reduction on this time last year.
The figures for June show Croydon, over the previous year, enjoyed the third biggest drop in JSA claimants among the south London boroughs (behind Bexley on 37%, and Sutton on 34%), and sixth of all the capital’s authorities.
And, with some 16,000 new jobs being created in the borough over the next four years as part of Pathways to Employment - a joint programme that sees the council, Jobcentre Plus and private-sector companies and charities working together - the good news is set to continue.
Councillor Toni Letts, cabinet member for economic development, said: “These new jobs figures are great for the borough now, and great for its future and the prospects of its residents.
“Croydon has rather a chequered history as regards promising much in terms of growth and development but never quite being able to live up to those promises.
“This time, though, things are different. The number of cranes to be seen on the skyline is evidence of the development work that’s already under way.
“The work being undertaken as part of the Connected Croydon project is obvious to see for all who have recently been to the south of the town centre.
“And the huge transformation that will take place when The Croydon Partnership’s £1bn redevelopment of the Whitgift Shopping Centre is complete, is guaranteed to make ours a borough that will make a real impact, not only on the south of London, but also on the south of England.
“The good thing is that it’s not only the business sector that will flourish; residents will also feel the benefit, as we’re working to make sure new housing developments contain attractive and sustainable levels of affordable housing.
“All of this work is testament to the partnerships the council has developed - with industry, the retail sector and, of course, our local communities - who have all pulled together to ensure a great future for Croydon.”