More good news for Osborne as unemployment falls

By Charles Maggs

There was more good news for George Osborne today as unemployment fell by 50,000 between March and May this year.

The news comes after officials figures showed inflation had fallen again, relieving the burden on low-and-middle earners.

The number of people in work has risen by 212,000 in the three months up to May.

There are now 29.59 million people in employment in the UK – the highest number of people ever employed the country.

Employment minister Mark Hoban said the figures were a "real landmark" and that they show people "want to work and the labour market is working well".

Figures released yesterday suggested inflation had fallen to 2.2%, a fraction higher than the Bank of England's target rate of 2%.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics also say that rates of pay rose by 1.7% from June to August this year, meaning it is still lagging behind inflation.

The figures indicate living standards for most are not improving and that much of the rise in employment may reflect part-time or flexible employment arrangements.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne cautiously welcomed the news.

“Today’s fall in unemployment is a welcome chink of light in a very bleak economic outlook," he said. 

"But frankly, when the welfare bill is spiralling by over £24 billion over this parliament, ministers are wrong to be breaking out the bunting.

 “There are now red flashing lights warning that Britain is becoming a very divided country."

The timing of the news is ideal for the government, with the first prime ministers questions since the end of the conference season happening today.