THE number of people employed in the borough has risen.

Figures published by the Office of National Statistics show that during 2012/13, 80 per cent of the 110,000 residents in Basingstoke and Deane were in employment, compared with 77 per cent in 2011/12.

Five per cent of residents in Basingstoke were unemployed in 2012/13, compared to 5.4 per cent during 2011/12.

The number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance in Basingstoke and Deane also fell from 2.2 per cent to two per cent during the same period.

Councillor Ranil Jayawardena, deputy leader of the borough council, said: “It’s great to see that unemployment is down in north Hampshire and the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance is down.

“There is more to do, but our long-term economic plan to fix the economy is working – it is delivering the jobs we need.”

But borough councillor Paul Harvey, Labour deputy group leader, added: “Any positive news is welcome, but we’ve been particularly concerned about the cost of living and the growth of zero hour contracts. We’ve also seen major businesses like Huawei and MacMillan leave Basingstoke.

“We shouldn’t forget that the majority of working age people living below the poverty line are now in working households, and two-thirds of all children living in poverty, live in working families.

“Most job growths have been in low-paid sectors such as hotels and restaurants and wholesale and retail, where more than two-thirds and 41 per cent of workers respectively are low paid.

“Tackling low wages is a key component of solving the cost-of-living crisis.”