Boris Bounce goes on as UK employment rate reaches new record high with 180,000 MORE people in work

UK employment jumped to a record high in the three months to December as more women entered employment, new figures reveal.

However, the increase in employment came as wage growth continued to stall over the period.

The number of people in work increased by 180,000 to 32.93 million in the quarter, as the number of people deemed economically inactive also shrank, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The surge in employment resulted in the highest figure on record and was higher than analysts had predicted, with a rise of 160,000 initially forecast.

The ONS said the figure was boosted by a ‘strong’ rise in the number of women in full-time work, with an increase of 150,000 women in work for the quarter.

More women became self-employed during the quarter, the ONS said, as the proportion of women who are self-employed hit a record high.

Myrto Miltiadou, ONS deputy head of labour market statistics, said: ‘Employment has continued its upward trend, with the rate nudging up to another record high.

‘In particular, the number of women working full-time grew strongly over the past year.’

Meanwhile, unemployment also decreased during the period, falling by 16,000 to 1.29 million.

Budget WILL happen on March 11: New Chancellor Rishi Sunak rules out delay 

New Chancellor Rishi Sunak today declared the Budget will go ahead on March 11 despite the abrupt departure of Sajid Javid.

Mr Sunak killed off rumours of a delay saying he was ‘cracking on’ with preparations for the crucial financial package. 

Downing Street had previously signalled that the Budget could be pushed back after the dramatic resignation of Mr Javid during the reshuffle last week. 

The confirmation came amid claims higher earners could be stripped of their 40 per cent pension tax relief.

Mr Sunak and Mr Johnson are meeting for talks tomorrow to flesh out the measures to ‘level up’ the UK economy.

However, Tory MPs are already uneasy about some of the proposals being floated, including imposing a ‘mansion tax’ on the most expensive homes.

The labour market also showed signs of improvement as job vacancies returned to growth for the first time in 11 months, rising by 7,000 to 810,000 for the quarter to January 2020.

Employment Minister Mims Davies said: ‘As we embark on a new chapter as an independent nation outside the EU, we do so with a record-breaking jobs market and business confidence on the rise.

‘With wages still outpacing inflation, UK workers can expect their money to go further as we look ahead to a decade of renewal. 

‘The upcoming Budget will steer us on that course, further driving our levelling up agenda – so we can all share in the country’s prosperity.’

However, wage growth continued to stall, slipping below analyst expectations, as bonuses fell.

Total earnings increased by 2.9 per cent in December, slowing from 3.2 per cent growth in the previous month.

Economists had forecast growth of 3 per cent for the month.

Mr Miltiadou added: ‘In real terms, regular earnings have finally risen above the level seen in early 2008, but pay including bonuses is still below its pre-downturn peak.’

In the quarter to December, the ONS also recorded the largest increase in EU-born workers in the UK since March 2017, rising by 133,000 to 2.44 million.

Boris Johnson and new Chancellor Rishi Sunak ‘could strip higher earners of their 40% pension tax relief’ in next budget

Boris Johnson and newly-appointed Chancellor Rishi Sunak are set to strip higher earners of their 40 per cent pension tax relief in next month’s budget.

They will meet for budget talks for the first time tomorrow to flesh out Mr Johnson’s pledge to ‘level up’ the UK economy, as reported by The Times.

It was suggested Ministers were preparing a ‘mansion tax’ and a subsequent re-evaluation of homes, but this was met with consternation by Tory MPs and grassroots activists alike.

The Treasury has now drawn up plans for a £10billion raid on pension tax breaks, which would see retirement savings pots set at the same rate for everyone.

New Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson are set to meet to to discuss next month's budget

New Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson are set to meet to to discuss next month’s budget

Currently higher earners get 40 per cent tax relief on pension contributions, compared with 20 per cent for lower earners.

But the proposed changes would mean everyone would get 20 per cent pension tax relief.

A report in the Financial Times suggested that previous Chancellor Sajid Javid was not entirely convinced by the plan, which is likely to arouse strong opposition among traditional Tories if introduced in the upcoming Budget.

It comes as Mr Javid waded into a Conservative row over the prospect of tax rises in his successor Rishi Sunak’s forthcoming Budget.

The former Chancellor nailed his colours to the mast by ‘liking’ a tweet warning that Britain is already ‘overtaxed’ with the highest tax burden for a generation.

His intervention came amid concerns on the Tory benches over hints that Boris Johnson wants next month’s Budget to mount a tax raid on Middle England.

There have been rumours of a squeeze on savings tax relief, a mansion tax or the creation of new council tax bands for expensive homes.

Mr Javid, who resigned as chancellor in Thursday’s reshuffle rather than fire his team of aides, stepped into the debate via Twitter.

Boris Johnson is set to meet with his new Chancellor to discuss plans for the economy

Boris Johnson is set to meet with his new Chancellor to discuss plans for the economy

He liked a comment made by blogger Paul Staines, also known as Guido Fawkes, that read: ‘Needs constant restating, the tax burden is the highest it has been for a generation. Britain is overtaxed.’

A source close to Mr Javid said: ‘He is on the record many, many times as being a low-tax Chancellor.’

Former Cabinet minister John Redwood said that instead of tax rises the Government should be drawing up a list of targeted tax cuts, including stamp duty, to stimulate growth.

He said: ‘You cannot tax people into prosperity. You do not make the less well-off rich by taxing entrepreneurs to take fewer risks and run fewer businesses.’