Friday 14 September 2012

“Majority Of New Jobs Either Part-Time Or Self-Employed”

So says Ian Brinkley of the Work Foundation about the latest unemployment figures that show a fall of 7,000 to 2.59m for the quarter to July.

Protesters Call For An End To Benefit Sanctions At DWP HQ Pic: Rhia Lawrence

London accounted for 5,500 of those dropping off the unemployment count suggesting the Olympic and Paralympic Games were responsible for many of the new jobs.

And indeed, there are now more than 8 million people working part-time, 1.42 million of them looking for full-time positions – both figures are records.

The picture is still bleak for young people, another 15,000 16-24-year-olds joined another million in their age group on the dole.

There was also an increase in the numbers of people unemployed for more than a year, up 22,000 to 904,000 – a 16 year high.

The Centre For Regional Economic Research at Sheffield recently released a report that showed that the real unemployment figure is higher at 3.5m.

Many are struck off the official figures because they receive incapacity benefits.

With output falling and a slump in construction, the continuation of small falls in unemployment is incredibly unlikely, unless there is a serious massaging of the statistics as was seen in the 1980s under Margaret Thatcher’s Government.

One likely method is to increase the numbers on workfare schemes.

Before his promotion to Justice Secretary, former Employment minister Chris Grayling announced his intention to force the long-term unemployed to work unpaid for 6 months on the Community Action Programme (CAP). More recently, along with London Mayor Boris Johnson, he announced the launch of a pilot that would mean 6,000 school-leavers and other unemployed young people would be conscripted onto a similar scheme for 30 hours (plus 10 hours “jobsearch”) per week.

A tougher regime for unemployed workers and other benefit claimants is already in place. A demonstration organised by Unite Community at the DWP HQ in London on Wednesday protested the trebling of sanctions stripping claimants of their meagre benefits from 139,000 in 2009 to 508,000 in 2011.

This is forcing more people onto the breadline.  Save The Children recently launched an appeal for the 3.5 million children living in poverty.

Ensuring that hundreds of thousands take to the streets for the TUC demonstration on 20th October is becoming more crucial.



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