Rural job creation is helping more people get back to work, says MP.

TORRIDGE and West Devon MP Geoffrey Cox says rural job creation is helping more people get back to work in the constituency.

New figures released this week showed the number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) in the district have fallen by 449 over the last year.

The claimant count for Torridge dropped by 8.2 per cent between April and May this year and now stands at 1.9 per cent of the working population.

In North Devon the claimant count dropped by 11.5 per cent to 1.2 per cent.

Mr Cox said: “That’s 449 people no longer needing benefits to get by, with a more secure, brighter future ahead of them,” he said.

“With the economy now recovering from the great recession, and jobs being created across this rural constituency, it’s clear the Conservatives’ long-term economic plan is working.

“We need to keep working through the plan, which is delivering growth and jobs, so that more people who want to work hard and get on can have the security of a regular pay packet they can bring home to their families.”

Across Devon there were 423 fewer claimants last month and youth unemployment in the county fell by 12 per cent, or 155 claimants.

Figures show 5,420 (1.2 per cent) claimed JSA – a 35 per cent drop for the same period last year.

The claimant rate in Devon is now around 45 per cent lower than the UK average.

But Devon County Council cabinet member for Economy and Growth, Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, said although unemployment remained very low in Devon, there were other issues that threatened sustainable economic growth.

“We have a highly skilled and well qualified workforce, yet business productivity and wages are still significantly below the UK average in many parts of Devon,” he said.

“Therefore a key priority for the council is to help our businesses expand and grow, as well as bringing high value jobs to our county by securing inward investment.”