More interesting and rewarding jobs are needed in East Anglia, local MPs have said - as new figures reveal that employment in the East is higher than anywhere else in the country.

The call for action from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the East of England came just days before new figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the East has the highest rate of employment of any UK region - at 78.4pc.

That compares with a UK average of 75.5pc, and Northern Ireland, which came lowest with 67pc.

In a letter to skills minister Andrea Jenkyns, the APPG’s co-chair Peter Aldous - who serves as Conservative MP for Waveney - pointed out that there are currently 193,000 job vacancies in the region and just 102,000 officially unemployed.

He added that the region is projected to deliver around 600,000 new jobs by 2036.

Crucially, the letter argued that action is needed to make work “attractive to those who for various reasons are not currently participating in the economy”.

Mr Aldous wrote: “There needs to be more part-time work, more work for those with disabilities (visible and invisible) and, in short, more interesting and rewarding work.

“Unless this happens we are in danger of not having the people to realise these economic opportunities, generate economic growth and increase the tax take that would fund levelling up elsewhere in the UK.”

The census results published in June meanwhile revealed that the East has also experienced the biggest population growth of any region - a rise of 448,000 people, or 8.3pc, from 2011 to 2021.

In their letter, the APPG asked Ms Jenkyns whether the East’s “expected ongoing faster than average population growth [is] factored into government thinking and funding?”

But in Ms Jenkyns' response, she only addressed one of the five points raised by the letter - concerning Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs), which she said “will forge stronger and more dynamic partnerships between employers and post-16 technical education and training providers”.

Eastern Daily Press: Skills minister Andrea JenkynsSkills minister Andrea Jenkyns (Image: Richard Townshend Photography)

Speaking this week, Mr Aldous said that while the minister’s response was welcome, there was “an element of disappointment” because of a lack of “recognition of the enormous potential that we do have in the East of England”.

The letter from Mr Aldous to Ms Jenkyns including an invitation to meet with the APPG if her diary allows.

Ms Jenkyns said she was grateful for the “kind invitation”.

“My office is aware of your request and will be in touch if I am able to do so," she wrote.

Making work more inclusive in East Anglia

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith said the new employment figures showed “that there are more people on payrolls and the unemployment rate remains at a near record low and even lower here in Norwich”.

Eastern Daily Press: Chloe Smith, Conservative MP for Norwich NorthChloe Smith, Conservative MP for Norwich North (Image: Richard Townshend Photography)

Ms Smith, who serves as minister for disabled people, health and work, said she welcomed “the additional support that the government is providing for people who face additional barriers when seeking work”.

“This includes £1.3bn for people with disabilities and health conditions, as well as £22m to fund specialist services for people over 50,” she said.

“It is right that the DWP work coaches are giving people the tools at any age and at any career stage to boost their skills and earnings.

“I would encourage anyone looking for that support to speak to the Norwich Job Centre to see how they can help.”