THERE has been a fall in the number of people out of work in Ludlow and south Shropshire.

Philip Dunne MP has welcomed latest figures showing the number of people receiving unemployment benefits in south Shropshire has fallen.

Figures from the independent Office for National Statistics revealed the unemployment claimant count fell in south Shropshire by 20 between February and March 2021, to 2,255. This represents 4.7 per cent of the working age population, compared to 6.5 per cent across the UK.

The government’s furlough scheme continues to protect local jobs in south Shropshire, with 5,400 jobs being sustained through furlough. The Office for Budgetary Responsibility cut its forecasts for peak unemployment from 11.9 per cent last July to 6.5 per cent in March.

“This modest decrease in unemployment in south Shropshire between February and March is welcome, and is a good portent for the next set of employment figures, which will reflect the loosening of restrictions and reopening of important sectors of our economy,” said Mr Dunne.

“The picture across the UK now looks more encouraging than initial fears predicted, with the OBR downgrading forecasts for peak unemployment. So, I hope as life begins to return to normal, we will see unemployment continue to fall locally, particularly before the government’s support mechanisms end later in the year.”

However, many businesses including the Shropshire Chamber of Commerce have said that support for businesses will need to continue beyond the lifting of restrictions following a period in which the economy slumped.