STROUD MP Neil Carmichael has welcomed the latest fall in unemployment, heralding it as proof that the Coalition’s economic plan is ‘on the right track’.

The Conservative politician said the figures released by the Office for National Statistics contained ‘great news for Stroud and the UK as a whole’.

They show that the rate of unemployment has fallen to 7.1 per cent after the economy added 280,000 new jobs in the last three months – the biggest ever quarterly increase in employment.

In Stroud, the statistics showed that there were 383 fewer unemployed claimants in December 2013 than during the same month in 2012.

They also revealed that there were 951 unemployed claimants in the Stroud constituency, which represents a rate of 1.8 per cent of the economically active population aged 16 to 64.

Commenting on the figures, Mr Carmichael said: “The fact that unemployment continues to fall is great news for Stroud and the UK as a whole, and proves that we are on the right track.

“Continued business investment and the predicted economic growth will ensure that more employment opportunities are available than ever before.”

Speaking to the SNJ on Monday (January 27), he added: “It’s absolutely great that more and more people are getting jobs. A lot of those jobs are full time according to the Chartered Institute of Personal Development and one of the employment agencies Omega which is based in my constituency in Stonehouse.

“It is fabulous news and it is great for the Valleys and Vale because these are jobs in the sectors which are growing and they are giving more and more people a proper lifestyle choice.”

Former Stroud MP David Drew also welcomed the latest unemployment figures but he said they failed to tell the full story.

“As always we must look behind the statistics. Many of the jobs 'created' are part-time, for short periods of time, lowly paid and sometimes involve zero hours.

“There remains a cost of living crisis evidenced best by the rise in the number of people now having to go the food banks active in the area.

"Sadly most of these people are now working and often resorting to pay day loans to make ends meet.

“Paying no attention to this issue demonstrates that Stroud’s Tory MP remains somewhat out of touch with what is really happening in Dursley and the wider Stroud area.”