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Unemployment falls to lowest level for 11 years

The latest UK jobs figures show the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level for 11 years.

Self-employment has increased by 213,000 since the same time last year, now totalling 15.1 percent of all those in work.

The figures show there are 23.24 million people working full-time, an increase in 350,000 from this time last year. They also showed 8.56 million people working part-time, an increase of 110,000. This correlates with the latest FSB Small Business Index, which showed small businesses have started to take on new staff, with a net balance of 7 percent increasing their headcount.

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Mike Cherry, national chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “More people in work is testament to the hard work of small businesses.

“The fall in the unemployment rate is especially welcome. Those moving from unemployment into work are much more likely to become self-employed or work for a small business than a large business.

“If progress is to continue, the Government must use the Autumn Statement to support small firms and the self-employed.

“That means prioritising much-needed infrastructure investment, including access to superfast broadband, and making clear there will be no increase in the small business tax burden. Small businesses need Government to reaffirm the commitment to permanently increase business rate relief.

“As an organisation set up to represent both small business but also the self-employed, we are acutely aware the UK has so far failed to keep pace with the rapid rise of self-employment.

“These figures are another signal that more needs to be done to support the self-employed, including on developing a clear legal definition of self-employment and on issues like access to mortgages and income protection, and addressing the discrepancies between the self-employed and employees in the social security system, such as on maternity pay.

“FSB are pleased with the announcement of the Taylor Review and are looking forward to inputting into this.”

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