LATEST unemployment figures showing a decrease to below one per cent in the Cotswold district for the first time in six years have been welcomed.

Data for May shows there are 459 people in the district claiming job seekers allowance which represents 0.9 per cent of the workforce and is the lowest number since July 2008.

And the number of claimants has reduced month on month throughout 2014, with 113 fewer claimants now compared to January.

Councillor Lynden Stowe, leader of Cotswold District Council, said he was pleased to see the downward trend.

“When earlier this month the Cabinet considered what were the then up-to-date figures, the level had reduced to one per cent which, in itself, was pleasing.

"However, for the figures to dip below per cent, to a level that is less than in February 2006, before the crash in the banking sector and the subsequent global recession, is a key milestone.

“It is also a testament to the resilience of the Cotswold economy and the efforts of many to ensure that the effects of the recession have been, and continue to be, minimised.

"You can feel the growing confidence in the business sector and this bodes well for the future as the economy continues to pick up both in this district and beyond."

But he warned the figures were not a reason to be complacent.

“We must also strike a good balance in our Local Plan between housing requirements and the need for employment and other economic opportunities," he added.