LATEST statistics showing a fall in those claiming unemployment benefits in south Shropshire have been welcomed by Philip Dunne MP.

Figures for April from the independent Office for National Statistics show that the claimant count in south Shropshire fell by 55, to 2,175 claimants, or 4.5 per cent of the population aged 16-64.

This compares with 6.3 per cent nationally.

This falls is good news and says that the local economy is starting to recover according to Ludlow MP Philip Dunne.

“It is great news that, for the second month in a row, unemployment has fallen in south Shropshire, giving more people the security that comes from a regular pay-packet,” said Mr Dunne.

“This reflects the opening up of the economy as we moved to step two in the middle of April, which saw non-essential retail and personal care able to reopen, as well as hospitality outdoors.

“As we moved to step three, I am hopeful we will continue to see businesses welcoming back customers and able to create and sustain more of the jobs lost during the pandemic.

“Clearly, while we establish comprehensively the efficacy of vaccines against new variants like the Indian variant, we should remain cautious.

“But I am pleased we have seen more jobs being created as we move out of restrictions in South Shropshire.”

The improvement to employment follows a period during the Covid-19 pandemic last year when there was a big jump in the number of people out of work despite interventions like to Jobs Retention Scheme.

However, this is starting to be withdrawn.