Live updates

Life after redundancy: the Swindon man making it as an artist

The first jobs figures since the election have been released today showing the South West has the highest employment rate in the country.

One man who has managed to get back into work is Nathan Pegler from Swindon. He was made redundant by Honda and used the opportunity to start up his own business as an artist:

Unemployment falls in the South West

3000 more people are in work since December 2014 Credit: PA

The total number of unemployed people in the South West has fallen by 3000 for the first three months of 2015.

119,000 people are currently out of work in the region, 4.3% of the total population, according to the ONS.

Nationally, unemployment is at a seven-year low of 1.83 million, down 35,000 from the previous quarter.

Advertisement

South West bucks national trend as unemployment figures rise

The South West was the only region to see a rise in unemployment Credit: PA

The number of people out of work in the South West has risen in the last quarter - the only region to see a rise in Great Britain.

The South West has bucked the national trend, with the figures revealing unemployment has gone up by 7,000 to 126,000 in the three months to Feb 2015 - an increase of 4.6%.

But, despite the numbers, our region continues to have one of the highest employment rates with 76.8% in work.

New Honda car made in Swindon will be exported to North America

New Honda car made in Swindon will be exported to North America Credit: Honda

Honda Civics made at the Swindon Honda Plant will be exported to the USA.

It comes just a day after the announcement Honda UK said it will secure thousands of jobs at the Wiltshire site by investing £200million in car production.

This significant announcement demonstrates the opportunity available to the Swindon operation and reinforces the quality and reliability of the product coming from our UK facility.

– Philip Crossman, managing director of Honda UK

Advertisement

Honda investment secures thousands of jobs in Swindon

Honda employs over 3,000 people in Swindon. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Honda is investing over £200 million in a new Civic model - which will be made at the car manufacturer's plant in Swindon.

Over 3,000 people are employed at the factory, which will produce an estimated 120,000 cars a year.

The investment will secure thousands of jobs at the Swindon plant, which saw hundreds of job losses last year.

More than a third are paid less than the living wage

More than 1 in 3 people in the region earn less than a living wage Credit: PA

Kingswood in South Gloucestershire has the highest number of people earning below the living wage in the South West.

More than half of its population are paid less than the amount deemed necessary to live on - which is currently set at £7.85 an hour.

According to the Trades Union Congress, more than a third of jobs in the region pay a lower wage than this.

Wiltshire man is named Apprentice of the Year

Steven Davey has been named Apprentice of the Year Credit: Federation of Master Builders

Steven Davey from Staverton in Wiltshire has won the title of Apprentice of the Year.

He received the award - and a cheque for £1,000 - at the Federation of Master Builders Awards in London yesterday. The 25-year-old carpentry apprentice studied at Swindon College and now works for Chippenham-based Stonewood Builders.

The South West has the lowest unemployment rate of anywhere in the country

The South West has the lowest unemployment rate of anywhere in the country, new figures show.

According to The Office for National Statistics, the number of people without jobs went down by seven thousand between October and December. A total of 122 thousand people were out of work in the South West - a rate of 4.5 percent.

The South West has got the lowest unemployment rate of anywhere in the country. Unemployment's gone down on the year by 50,000 and long term unemployment, people who've gone on the work programme there, 20,000 fewer since June 2011, so again, it really is seeing transformational change in that area.

– Esther McVey, Employment Minister

See the full interview with Ester McVey below:

Load more updates