BUSINESS West director Ian Larrard has raised concerns in the labour market due to Brexit after the Government's announcement of record employment figures last month.

Figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions showed the employment rate for people aged 16 to 64 from March to May 2018 stood at a new record high of over 75 per cent, the highest rate in more than thirty years.

But the director of Business West, a not-for-profit company which provides support for more than 200,000 small and medium sized businesses in Swindon and Wiltshire, has poured cold water on the positive results touted by the government.

Ian Larrard commented: "We must remember that this figure is slightly misleading, given that it is a reflection of the claimant count, rather the total number of the UK adult population who find themselves out of work.

"A much better indicator of the health of the UK labour market is the employment rate and this has remained static. The wage growth that we saw in the last set of ONS figures similarly refuses to budge."

He also pointed towards the number of vacancies due to falling migration and Britain's departure from the EU.

"Perhaps the most worrying statistic for businesses is an increase in unfilled job vacancies spurred by falling immigration from the EU," he added.

"[There were] 2.28 million EU nationals were working in the UK between April and June 2018. This is 86,000 less than the same period in 2017, making it the largest annual fall since records began in 1997.

"What this exposes is a national education and training system that is struggling to cope with the demands of British businesses in terms of skills, and this a worrying sign with Brexit looming.

“One positive we can take from the latest set of ONS results is the unemployment rate amongst 16-24 year olds, which was at its lowest since records began."