SOUTH Craven MP Julian Smith has welcomed latest employment rate figures.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the total hit 76 per cent in April.

Mr Smith says there are now four million more people in work across the UK than there were in 2010.

In his own Skipton and Ripon constituency, 945 people are claiming work-related benefits and claimants make up 1.7 per cent of the population aged 16 to 64, compared to a UK figure of 3.7 per cent.

And in the 18-to-24 age range, the constituency total is 2.7 per cent, compared to 4.7 per cent nationally.

Mr Smith says: "These latest figures are a welcome step forward but we mustn’t take our foot off the gas as we continue to tackle inflation, cut debt and grow the economy."

Wendy Mangan, employer and partnership manager for York & North Yorkshire, praises the role of work coaches.

She says: "We know that by targeting personal support to every jobseeker, people gain the confidence to develop their abilities and skills to rejoin the workforce or progress in their career. Work coaches are helping to ensure jobseekers know how they can benefit from the huge amount of support available."