I am deeply angered to learn that unemployment in the constituency has broken through the 1,000 mark and sees unemployment now rise for seven consecutive months. The total number of unemployed claimants in Delyn in April 2018 was 1,040.
This represents a rate of 3.2% of the economically active population aged 16-64.
The equivalent UK claimant rate was 2.9%. The UK unemployment rate, which includes people not claiming benefits and is estimated from survey data, was 4.2% between January and March 2018.
The number of claimants in Delyn constituency is 285 higher than April 2017 and 70 higher than March 2018.
There were 225 claimants aged 18-24 in April 2018, 35 higher than April 2017.
These figures used to rank constituencies against each other. However, the House of Commons Library, an independent research body available to all political parties, has stated that they can no longer do this. This is because they have discovered that constituencies have been affected by Universal Credit rollout. They have realised that there has been a marked increase in rank for constituencies where rollout is more advanced, which means other constituencies (in earlier stages of rollout) must drop down the rankings.
This is telling as Delyn was one of the earliest constituencies to see the rollout of Universal Credit and we now have unemployment rising at a rate faster than the national average.
Unemployment going above 1,000 people is a damning indictment on the UK Government’s policies. This is now the seventh consecutive month we have seen unemployment rise in Delyn meaning we have over half a year of wasted growth.
The figures released by the Office of National Statistics and interpreted by the independent House of Commons Library also show a more worrying trend; constituencies who have had Universal Credit the longest are suffering the most. The Library admit in their statistical release that they can no longer provide a ranking of unemployment in UK constituencies as they have realised that those who saw Universal Credit rolled out early have shot up in the national rankings.
The Welsh Government and local council are doing their best in these circumstances to support jobs in North East Wales. But we need more resources and that is why I back the North Wales Growth Deal.
I have long been saying that investment is needed. But these figures also show that the flawed Universal Credit system is also harming people. It is creating difficulty for people to secure work. It has become clear, through the UK Government’s own impact assessments, that Universal Credit gets 3-5% more people into work, using sanctions and increasing poverty. But Labour’s Working Family Tax Credits got 4-7% more people into work without sanctions whilst reducing poverty. Failed policy is harming the people of Delyn.