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Briefings

Budget 2012

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Based on the announcement of today’s Budget statement the outlook for the UK economy is
looking slightly more encouraging than it did nearly four months ago, when the Chancellor of the
Exchequer delivered his Autumn Statement.

The Chancellor is, however, in the difficult position of not being able to significantly increase
borrowing to fund net tax cuts which could stimulate growth, for fear of triggering a bond market
ratings downgrade and interest rate hikes. He is also unable to cut Government spending much
further to help pay off Government debt, which would help to keep bond rates, and therefore
interest rates, low (and act as a longer-term growth stimulus). This is due to the fact the welfare bill
is high given of current levels of unemployment and the danger that further significant cuts would
impact negatively upon GDP and unemployment in the short-term.

Jobseekers Allowance Analysis - March 2012

The number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) has risen from 10,979 in January to 11,315 in February (336 additional claimants), representing a 3.1% increase from the previous month. As a result of this the rate of the working age population (aged 16-64) claiming JSA has risen from 2.4% to 2.5%. The latest figures for Devon follow the UK trend of rising unemployment, albeit at a faster rate (3.1% in Devon compared to 2.2% for the UK as a whole). The UK unemployment rate has also seen a 0.1 percentage point change in the rate of JSA claimants rising from 4.1% to 4.2%. So whilst the claimant count rate has risen in Devon, it remains below the UK average and our neighbouring areas.

Job Seekers Allowance Analysis - February 2012

The number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) has risen from 10,194 in December to 10,979 in January (785 claimants), representing a 7.7% increase from the previous month. Consequently the rate of the working age population (16-64) claiming JSA has risen from 2.2% to 2.4%. The latest figures for Devon follow the UK trend albeit at a faster rate (7.7% in Devon compared to 5.1% in the UK), however the UK has also seen a 0.2 percentage point change in the rate of JSA claimants rising from 3.9% to 4.1%. So whilst the claimant count rate has risen in Devon, it remains below the UK average and our neighbouring areas.