The government uses workfare and other training schemes to reduce the headline unemployment figure (the Labour Force Survey) and increasing numbers of people who are sanctioned are not included in the lower claimant count number. The move to a 4 week minimum, 3 year maximum sanction regime from the 22nd October will further act to reduce the claimant count, by reducing people to destitution.
With unemployment rising in the West Midlands, can we expect to see an increased push to force people into unpaid workfare schemes to claim unemployment is falling? Will we see more pressure put on job centre advisors to sanction claimants? Is this the reality of falling unemployment in Tory Britain today?
Self employment is also rising, but how many of these people are creating sustainable jobs? Have they been advised to sign off Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and fraudulently register as self employed claiming Working Tax Credits? Are they moving to self employment in desperation of not being able to find a job, and being so fed up with living on benefits, and wanting to work, they decide to have a go at it on their own. Around 2/3rds of business fail in their first year.
The fall in figures today has been comprehensively taken apart by Johnny Void, showing that it can be wholly accounted for by these and other statistical games.
Part time work is soaring, and the average numbers of hours worked are down. 69% of the jobs created in the past year have been part time, and this combines with wages rising slower than inflation to leave people with far less spending power than previously. Combined with benefit cuts for those out of work and those on low pay, this effect is multiplied.For the economy as a whole, falling unemployment should be a good thing, but even if the statistics actually represented a fall in employment around the UK, if the amount people earn overall is falling (and with so much part time work it must be), then the amount they can spend – the demand they generate is lower.
This means that when combined with government spending cuts, we will continue to see recession because there will not be the increased demand in the economy you would expect to see from increased employment.
The money that is lost in wages doesn’t just disappear of course. It ends up as profit for a company like Starbucks, who move it offshore in order to avoid paying any tax on it. It will join the £13 trillion stashed away in tax havens by the richest individuals and multinationals on the planet.
So if you think it’s an outrage that the government is so bad at it’s job that it can’t even manage to find a way to claim unemployment is falling in Birmingham, why not go to London on Saturday and join the TUC demonstration for A Future that Works .. and Boycott Workfare for a Future Without Workfare. Free coach spaces for unwaged and low paid people are available from Birmingham.