It’s nearly four years since the Liberal Democrats put the needs of the country before narrow party political interests and entered into the Coalition Government. 2010 may be a distant memory, but our country was in the midst of an economic crisis created, in part at least, by the irresponsible actions of the Labour Government.
The economic crash hit Sheffield hard, especially when the unavoidable reductions in public spending came. However, I have long believed cities like Sheffield should be key drivers of economic growth, putting us back on the road to recovery and helping rebalance the economy. That’s why we have invested heavily in things like Sheffield’s City Deal, Regional Growth Fund and creating thousands of apprenticeships. I’m delighted all the signs show our plan is working and our economy is growing stronger – not just in the City of London but in Sheffield too. The latest figures show Sheffield has had an increase of 21,000 people in work since 2010.
That’s 21,000 more people with a chance to work and get on in life compared to the previous Labour Government. That’s something to be proud of.
There’s also good news on apprenticeships, something close to my heart. Of all England’s large cities Sheffield has the highest proportion of young people in apprenticeships, with the lowest ever number of youngsters not in education, training or work.
There are also large reductions in people claiming Jobseekers Allowance. Since January 2013 the number of 18 to 24 year old claimants is down by 1,305 – a 25 per cent reduction. There has also been a reduction in excess of 3,000 claimants, a 17.5 per cent drop.
All this proves our city is making progress, and I for one will tell everyone what a great place Sheffield is to invest in.
But Star readers could be forgiven for thinking otherwise if they listen to those talking Sheffield down to score political points.
My plea is for everyone to come together, regardless of party, to shout about the great things Sheffield has to offer. We have more people in work, more young people getting on in life and increasing business confidence.
We have a great story to tell, so let’s get on and tell it to help create the stronger economy local people deserve.