Jenny Willott MP: Evidence that the economy is recovering

April 24, 2014 12:01 PM


Last week we saw some of the strongest evidence yet that the economy is recovering. For the first time in years real wages are rising in line with prices. We have record numbers in work and unemployment is falling at the fastest rate in over a decade. And the proportion of women in work has reached 67.6% - the highest since records began.

These figures reinforce the fact that Liberal Democrats in Government are delivering. We are not only building a stronger economy - we're also working to create a fairer society, in which everyone has equal opportunities and the most vulnerable are supported.

I'm a Minister in the Department for Business, and within my portfolio there are many examples of this, for example, we're investigating zero hours contracts, to see whether and how workers are being exploited; and we're introducing new measures to increase trust and transparency in the way businesses operate.

We're cracking down on payday lenders who charge exorbitant interest rates, and we're doing lots to ensure people are protected when they buy things online: the Consumer Rights Bill, currently going through Parliament, means that faults in things you buy online must be put right free of charge, or a refund or replacement provided, and we've put £120,000 into tackling copycat websites which trick people into thinking they're official government sites.

I'm also really pleased to say that we're making progress on getting more women into the top seats in business - there's now only one company in the FTSE 100 without any women on their board, down from 21 in 2011.

We are making real progress in getting the economy back on track, but I am delighted that with Liberal Democrats in Government we are not just reverting to the status quo; we are rebalancing our economy, not only away from London and an overdependence on financial services, but also towards a fairer, more responsible business environment which benefits everyone.

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