The Tory government is crowing about the small reduction in the headline unemployment figures after new data was released this week. However it takes only a cursory look under the bonnet to see that while there may be a shiny new coat of paint the engine is still stalled.
The figure for those in part time work because they are unable to find a full time job surged by more than 5% on the previous quarter. Over a quarter of a million people are now stuck in part-time work, an increase of 20.1% in the last year.
Tory employment minister Chris Grayling attempted to blame immigration for the unemployment problem during a disgraceful appearance on BBC’s Newsnight. This is a desperate response from a government that looks increasingly weak. It is the coalition’s blind adherence to austerity coupled with the continued economic crisis that is to blame for persistent unemployment and the genesis of a new lost generation.
Over a million young people are still trapped in unemployment. The government’s workfare schemes have done nothing to help them while enriching the private firms running the schemes and making use of the free labour they provide. The anti-workfare movement has landed real blows against this exploitation and the cancelling of an A4e contract to provide Mandatory Work Activity shows that the Tories are still nervous of bad press around the dodgy practices of their forced labour trade.
Across Europe people have rejected austerity at the ballot box, on the streets and on the picket line – if the government is serious about tackling unemployment it must do the same and invest in real jobs and training.
Right to Work activist Mark Dunk said, “It is shameful that the Tories are parading these figures as a success when they show that the numbers trapped in long-term unemployment are still growing.”
Michael Bradley said, “This government has presided over a 6% drop in real wages over 2 years, the sacking of hundreds of thousands of public sector workers, and is now stealing benefits from half a million disabled people. Their pretence that a small increase in part time work means we’re on the road to recovery is just more Tory whitewash.”