A few figures show life’s not all bad...
There are some reasons to be cheerful right now
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