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Ian Larrard

Unemployment fall is great – but don’t get complacent, business leaders warn MPs

This week’s fall in the unemployment figures should be no cause for complacency, business leaders have warned.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that in the months from July to September, unemployment in the South West fell by 13,000 to 4.7 percent – down 0.5 percent on the quarter.

This is down 1.6 percent on the year and below the national average of six percent.

Commenting on the statistics, Ian Larrard, director of Business West Swindon, said: “Unemployment has nose-dived as the recovery has taken hold and the figures released this week reveal the eighteenth consecutive quarterly fall.

“However, this is not the only indicator we need to consider and road blocks still remain. Despite total unemployment falling rapidly, we are still seeing the same issues crop up with youth unemployment, which remains stubbornly high.

“This dark cloud, lurking over encouraging news, is a symbol of the wider picture as Business West’s latest survey indicates a slowdown in the growth of major indicators such as domestic and international sales, recruitment and business confidence despite a strong first half of 2014.

“Although today’s positive news coming out of the labour market is welcome, we must not be complacent as fundamental weaknesses in the economy still hamper our future prosperity.”

Mr Larrard said the voice of business needed to be “embedded into all party manifestos”.

“We are currently compiling our election manifesto, with the aim of putting across business needs to prospective candidates at this crucial point in the electoral cycle.

“Irrespective of which party forms the next government, change must happen to address issues and drive growth, aspiration and enterprise.”

To contribute your views to the manifesto, take the Business West quarterly survey at