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Jeremy Corbyn promises a new ministry of employment rights as figures show unemployment remains at 3.8%.
Labour has pledged to increase protections for workers as figures out today show the unemployment rate has remained static between July and September compared to the previous quarter.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has told the TUC that, if elected, he would establish a ministry for employment rights and a workers’ protection agency to enforce rights, standards and protections. He pledged that all workers over 16 would be entitled to a statutory “real living wage” of £10 per hour by 2020 and said there would be a ban on zero hours contracts and a new civil enforcement system to ensure gender pay commitments were upheld.
The latest Office for National Statistics figures show the employment rate was the joint highest since records began in 1971 and that this is mainly driven by an increase in the number of women in work. The amount of women in employment has risen by 284,000 since last year, partly because of changes to the State Pension age for women, resulting in fewer women retiring between the ages of 60 and 65 years.
The latest figures generally show that the supply of older workers is continuing to drive employment growth. The number of people aged over 50 in work rose by a further 70,000 over the previous quarter, while employment fell for those aged under 50 (down by 40,000 on the quarter). Meanwhile, the number of young people not in employment or full-time education is up by 40,000 and back close to one million (986 thousand).
The Institute for Employment Studies also notes that almost all of the increase in employment in the last month is a result of an increase in self-employment and that the number of people off work due to long-term sickness has risen sharply this quarter – up by nearly 80 thousand to 2.05 million – even while short-term sickness rates have fallen.
Wages continue to rise, with the figures showing a real terms (after adjusting for inflation) annual growth in total pay of 2.1% and annual growth in regular pay estimated to be 1.9%.
Meanwhile, Liz Truss has been named the new Minister for Women & Equalities, replacing Amber Rudd. There have been four changes of minister since the last election.