Dave Hodgson: let’s keep cutting Bedford jobless figures

Bedford Mayor Dave Hodgson.
Bedford Mayor Dave Hodgson.

Latest figures show a dramatic fall in unemployment in Bedford Borough. Since February 2013, the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance has dropped by a staggering 46 per cent.

The age group with the highest proportion of claimants, 18-24 year-olds, saw numbers drop by 16 per cent between September and October alone, much faster than the regional reduction.

While these figures are to be welcomed, it is not time for celebration, but rather encouragement for all those who can help to maintain this trend to intensify their efforts.

This applies to many more people and agencies than simply employer and employee. The local employment outlook is shaped in many ways by many bodies and individuals including education providers, local politicians, investors, banks, government and the council. I have made job creation and economic growth a top priority, and have retained the Economic Development cabinet portfolio in order to ensure we are doing all we can in this vital task. If the borough’s economy is growing, it helps establish a virtuous circle for our community where rising standards in education, high quality local facilities, jobs growth and more all support each other.

The Jobs Hub ensures the right support is freely available for those who need it. We’ve also got the crucial bypass works underway, and continue to pursue improvements such as our town centre decongestion project. Meanwhile, we are working to attract more investment such as the regeneration scheme bringing town centre cinema back and creating 200 jobs.

It’s an ongoing effort in the permanent hope next month’s figures will be even better.