Ilkley’s MP has welcomed news that unemployment has continued to fall locally and nationally.

Kris Hopkins said: “While sadly there were job losses in Keighley in the weeks leading up to Christmas, I’m pleased that the overall trend remains downwards as new positions continue to be created.”

According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of unemployed claimants in Keighley and Ilkley fell by 54 in December to 1,859, a drop of 498 compared to 12 months ago.

Youth unemployment in the constituency was down by 40 last month, a fall of 165 since December 2012.

Across the UK, the unemployment rate dropped to 7.1 per cent or 2.32 million in the three months to November, a fall of 167,000 in the number of people out of work.

Mr Hopkins added: “Looking at the wider economic picture, it remains clear that the Government’s economic plan is working, with the latest national unemployment figures showing the biggest rise in the number of people in work since records began.

“There are now more 1.3 million more people with a job than when the Conservative-led Government came to power in 2010.

“As ever, there is much work to do to maintain the positive momentum we have instilled into our economy.

“But we are continuing to move very much in the right direction.”