A few fig­ures show life’s not all bad...

There are some rea­sons to be cheer­ful right now

Sunday Sun - - Comment&analysis -

Theresa May is the prime min­is­ter, but there is some doubt as to whether any­one is run­ning the coun­try THERE’S a lot of bad news around at the mo­ment.

West­min­ster is mired in sleaze, Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions are mak­ing slow progress and it’s not clear whether any­one is ac­tu­ally run­ning the coun­try.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Per­haps this is the right time to fo­cus on the good news for once.

Af­ter all, there are plenty of rea­sons to be cheer­ful.

Un­em­ploy­ment is down. In fact, in the North East it fell by 10 per cent in the past year. That’s a fall from 79,000 people to 71,000 people.

And the num­ber of people with a job ac­tu­ally rose in the North East by 25,000 people, up to 1.23 mil­lion.

And our pay has gone up. Just a lit­tle bit, but it has.

Of­fi­cial fig­ures show that av­er­age to­tal pay for em­ploy­ees in Great Bri­tain in­creased from £376 per week in Jan­uary 2005 to £509 per week in Septem­ber 2017; an in­crease of 35.3%.

Okay, but what about in­fla­tion?

Well, over the same period the Con­sumer Prices In­dex, in­clud­ing hous­ing costs, in­creased by 33.2%. In other words, pay has risen slightly even af­ter in­fla­tion is taken into ac­count.

And a note about in­fla­tion. Some re­ports have suggested in­fla­tion is shoot­ing up. But in fact, it’s still pretty low at 2.8%.

The tar­get (orig­i­nally set by the last Labour gov­ern­ment) is 2%. That’s be­cause a bit of in­fla­tion is good for the econ­omy.

And it’s a tar­get – not an up­per limit. So we’re ac­tu­ally closer to the 2% tar­get now than we were when in­fla­tion was close to zero.

What about hous­ing? Too many people strug­gle to find an af­ford­able home.

But new homes built.

In fact, in Tyne and Wear the num­ber of homes in­creased by 5,207 in the past year. This is the to­tal num­ber of new homes mi­nus any de­mo­li­tions.

And that fig­ure is higher than ever. Go back to 2007 and it was just 2,545.

But what about Brexit? Doesn’t the rest of Europe hate us now? Well, no. The latest of­fi­cial fig­ures show that 248,000 people from EU coun­tries chose to move to the UK over 12 months (be­tween March 2016 and March 2017).

At the same time, 122,000 EU cit­i­zens left.

It’s true that the num­ber leav­ing has in­creased, com­pared to the years be­fore the ref­er­en­dum. But it’s still far lower than the num­ber choos­ing to come here.

And it sug­gests the UK is still seen as a great place to live and work. are be­ing

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