Tag Archives: unemployment

Challenging the narrative: Employment

3D Employment GraphI was engaged in a twitter argument yesterday with someone who was disputing the progress we have seen in employment, putting the improved figures down to a million people enslaved on zero hours contracts.

The Office for National Statistics have provisionally estimated the number of zero hours contracts to be between 583,000 and 1.4 million. There isn’t an established data series for this that would enable historical comparisons, but there are such statistics for full time and part time workers. According to these the number of part time workers is up 356,000 since May 2010, and the number of full time workers is up 1,114,000.

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Opinion: Immigration and unemployment – an idea

Words.Two popular arguments deployed against immigration are that immigrant’s take jobs from British workers or that immigrants are a burden on the welfare state. Both arguments have been shown to be largely invalid: the Lump of Labour fallacy  has long been dismissed as economic bunkum; and existing evidence suggests that the net contribution of recent migrants to Britain’s public finances is positive. However, according to this evidence from  Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at University College London not all groups of migrants make a positive fiscal contribution …

photo by: Nina J. G.
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Danny Alexander: More people in work than ever before, earnings now rising in line with prices

speech danny alexander 6Two pieces of good economic news today, as the BBC reports:

UK unemployment falls to five-year low of 2.2m

The number of people out of work in the UK has fallen by 77,000 to a five-year low of 2.24m in the three months to February, official figures indicate. The unemployment rate now stands at 6.9% of the adult working population, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

After six years, wages finally overtake inflation

After nearly six years of falling real wages, weekly earnings have finally edged above inflation. Weekly wages, including bonuses, rose by 1.7% in the year to February, up from 1.4% in January, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Earlier this week, inflation, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), fell to 1.6%. It is the first time that earnings have been higher than inflation for six years, apart from two months in 2010.

Here’s what the Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander had to say:

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Opinion: We can conquer unemployment

unemploymentIn 1929, Lloyd George launched We Can Conquer Unemployment, the policy document that was to form the basis of the Liberals’ election campaign.

This week, George Osborne said “I am committed to securing the “fullest” possible level of employment by helping business to create new jobs and cutting taxes.”

Nick Clegg has said “… many people had accepted real terms pay cuts in recent years to safeguard their jobs and the government must continue to support them as well as creating the climate for new jobs. All I want is the maximum number of people to be employed in the economy and the minimum number to be jobless.”

Just as the productivity gains of the decades prior to the financial crash, were largely captured by the wealthiest in society, so too has the benefit of the asset price inflation generated by monetary policy accrued to the holders of capital at the expense of wage earners and savers.

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LibLink: Baroness Floella Benjamin: Positive role models can break cycle of despair

Baroness Floella Benjamin has written for the Voice website about what the government is doing to help young black people find jobs.

More than 30 million people are now in work and since the 2010 General Election, the number of people claiming the main out-of-work benefits has fallen by 566,000. This is great news and my party, the Liberal Democrats, have worked hard in government to achieve success stories like these, listening to people’s concerns and ensuring the right support is being put in place.

But disappointingly there’s no denying that unemployment is still disproportionately high amongst young black people, especially men

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Employment: Jobs are growing – but there is a long way to go

Employment trendsA million more people are in work compared to early 2010. The number of unemployed people in the UK has dropped by 18,000 in the last three months. And the number of people in jobs is at the highest level ever, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Liberal Democrat minister Steve Webb says:

The Liberal Democrats in government have helped business create more than a million private sector jobs, and now we are working to help create a million more… There is a long way to go, but the economy is on the mend and jobs are crucial to building a stronger economy in a fairer society that allows everyone to get on in life.

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Are employment levels one of the “better stories” of the Coalition, as Fraser Nelson claims? Not really.

The Spectator’s editor Fraser Nelson is — rightly — very hot on politicians being accurate in their use of stats. For instance, he’s — rightly — called out both Nick Clegg and David Cameron for confusing (whether accidentally or deliberately) the terms ‘debt’ and ‘deficit’, claiming the former is falling when they mean the latter.

However, Fraser is sometimes a bit casual with facts himself — for instance, wrongly claiming that an old report for the Department for Education ‘proved’ the pupil premium was flawed when it did no such thing.

And today he makes a point of highlighting …

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Benefits, back-to-work and the unemployed: what Lib Dem members think

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 650 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

70% say: withdraw unemployment benefits IF job offers refused without ‘good reason’

In principle, do you support or oppose withdrawing benefits from unemployed people who refuse offers of work without good reason?

    70% – Support

    21% – Oppose

    9% – Don’t know

The overwhelming view — held by 7-in-10 of those Lib Dems who responded — was that in principle withdrawing benefits …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

Every week, Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP, writes a column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Local television

Last week was an important one for local news coverage in the Borders as the broadcasting regulator OFCOM asked for views on its proposals to change the way local television news is provided here.

After years of shared news with Tyne Tees, they are now looking at options to return things close to the way they were in 2009. That would mean more coverage of the south of Scotland and particularly our part of it …

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Michael Moore MP’s Westminster Notes

Every week, Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP, writes a column for newspapers in his Borders Constituency. Here is the latest edition. 

Green Deal

In my constituency I know that energy prices are a key concern for local people. It has been one of the UK Government’s top priorities to help tackle this issue by improving the energy efficiency of people’s homes, reducing the confusing number of tariffs available and making it easier for people to switch. The Green Deal, launched last week, will help with the first part by enabling people to insulate their homes or install …

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Nick Clegg’s letter from the leader: People count

This week Nick covers the economy, the fall in unemployment, the big problem with David Cameron’s speech on the EU, and rounds off with reform of the royal succession.

The point that while the economy is weak, employment is surprisingly strong is something that is perplexing the economists (video) and I’m surprised it doesn’t get more attention.

It hasn’t hit the headlines, perhaps because the fall in unemployment was thought to be a blip. But after over a year, this is clearly something to be welcomed. I’d like to …

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PMQs: The Chief Whip’s brain is missing*

*Conservative Chief Whip, that is.

Does Andrew Mitchell have some embarrassing photos of David Cameron? Or is there some disaster coming up, known only to the Prime Minister, for which he is conserving the Chief Whip for dumping overboard at an expedient moment as “cover”?

There has to be some reason that the PM preserves in post a man responsible for one of the longest public aftermaths ever for an intemperate outburst.

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‘Workfare': the depressingly sterile ‘left/right’ debate is a challenge to liberals to sharpen our thinking

Deborah Orr has a must-read article in the Guardian highlighting the inverted absurdity of this week’s row about the Coalition’s workfare programme, The slanging match over workfare is getting us nowhere.

She points out that the very essence of workfare is government intervention in the workings of the free market, the state urging private companies to offer work experience placements to the unemployed:

For the right, such hapless, inefficient intervention by the state is anathema. When the private sector is left to make its own arrangements, neo-liberals never tire of pointing out, it functions better, to the advantage of all.

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Opinion: Work-fare or work fair? Why I shan’t be shopping at Tesco

It seems that Tesco finally bowed to public pressure and is no longer expecting the jobless to line-up and provide them with four weeks of unpaid labour. Whilst I was pleased to read this, it was too little, too late for me. Do Tesco expect us to be pleased that they’re finally offering to pay people in return for their hard work?

This has taught us an awful lot about Tesco’s ethical beliefs. The company was happy to accept unpaid labour before the public knew about it, but as soon as they started receiving negative press coverage, they brought the scheme …

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A tailored response is required to tackle cities’ unemployment challenges

Today, Centre for Cities launches Cities Outlook 2012, our fifth annual ‘health check’ on UK cities, and this year we have focused on unemployment in cities.

The report, sponsored by IBM and the LGA, shows that there is a strong geographical nature to unemployment across UK cities. But unemployment is not evenly spread across the UK. While cities such as York and Cambridge have relatively low levels of unemployment, cities such as Grimsby and Hull have a much larger problem.

The variation in unemployment across cities is stark. While the number of people in Cambridge claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) is just …

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PMQs: Miliband hoist by his Balls’ petard

Let’s start with what Ed Balls, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor said in the Guardian on January 14th:

My starting point is, I am afraid, we are going to have keep all these cuts. There is a big squeeze happening on budgets across the piece. The squeeze on defence spending, for instance, is £15bn by 2015. We are going to have to start from that being the baseline. At this stage, we can make no commitments to reverse any of that, on spending or on tax. So I am being absolutely clear about that.

So, it was something of a surprise when Ed …

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Opinion: A bright new year?

For me, this year is starting as it is for millions of our fellow citizens – dealing with a complete change, having found myself redundant.

I am though, one of the lucky ones. I don’t need to worry about getting a new job for a while. I have the luxury of taking my time and hopefully finding something that suits me rather than being forced to take something, anything, to keep the wolf from the door.

But most don’t have that luxury, for our young people coming out of school or university with all the enthusiasm and aspiration of youth finding themselves …

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Opinion: troubling times in the jobs market

Despite uncertainty over the statistics (don’t worry, this isn’t a post about p-values and standard deviations), we can say with some confidence (say, 95%) that the UK jobs market remains in a volatile state with many people out of work or underemployed. With public sector jobs being shed rapidly as a result of austerity measures, and the private sector unable or unwilling to create more jobs than it sheds due to falling demand (going against Chancellor George Osborne’s  expectations), the net result is a devastating lack of work for millions of people, …

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PMQs: Miliband 1 Barn Door 1

It was the last pre-Christmas Prime Minister’s Questions today and we saw the return of Nick Clegg loyally sitting at the PM’s right-hand side.

Ed Miliband started on the economy, and the news that unemployment is up again. He quoted David Cameron’s words when he came to office, saying that jobs would be “uppermost”. “What’s gone wrong?” asked the opposition leader.

Cameron’s main thrust during the 2010 election campaign was that new private sector jobs should lead the economic recovery and more than replace lost public sector jobs. Miliband did a good job of exposing that this bright idea has allegedly failed. …

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Youth unemployment: when one in five isn’t one in five

It normally sounds pretty obvious – you work out the unemployment rate by looking at the number of people in work and the number of people seeking work. But sometimes that leads to rather odd figures, as today’s youth unemployment figures demonstrate.

The Guardian’s headline, One in five young people out of work (headline used on Guardian news page; there’s a longer slightly different headline on the story itself), s pretty typical.

But take your way to page 36, Table 14 and look at the raw numbers and it looks rather different.

Number of 16-24 year-olds: 7,337,000.
Number of 16-24 year-olds unemployed: 963,000

In …

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Opinion: A Swedish lesson for Gordon Brown

So far in British political debates the word “Swedish” is usually bandied about in support of “free schools” by the Conservatives. But you won’t see anything about schools in this post – instead I will highlight a different political lesson from Sweden.

In 2006 the centre-right Alliance for Sweden (which includes our sister party) ended twelve years of Social Democratic government; this was only the third time that the centre-right has defeated a Social Democratic government since the Second World War. An important factor in the victory was …

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LibLink … Vince Cable: Loaded, yet STILL bankers are not doing their job lending to help businesses expand

Writing in the Mail yesterday (yes, the Mail: the newspaper which last week published the most complained-about article in British history) Lib Dem deputy leader Vince Cable contrasts two of the big stories of the last week: the investment bankers, announcing record bonuses, alongside the news of another big rise in unemployment. Here’s an excerpt:

A year after the collapse and rescue of the banking system by the taxpayer, the number of British workers without full-time jobs is still rising: 120,000 more in the three months to August.

But the big international banks – mainly US-owned but major players in

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Unemployment: Lib Dems on the bleak national picture

Three separate Lib Dem press releases ping into the Voice’s inbox, each of them them telling a depressing story about the human impact of the recession.

First up, Lib Dem shadow work and pensions secretary Steve Webb on the doubling of long-term unemployment in the last year alone:

Ministers try to spin the slower rise in headline figures as progress, but long-term unemployment has doubled in a year and if it is not tackled now it will be a devastating legacy of this recession.

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Richard Tracey: Tory triumph or tall tale?

A Tory London Assembly Member wants his party to take the credit for a brief drop in London’s unemployment figures, while the annual results show a different picture.

Richard Tracey, Conservative London Assembly Member for Merton and Wandsworth (and a former Conservative Minister and MP for Surbiton) proudly wrote to the South London Press in March 2009:

“London has bucked the tragedy of rising unemployment – it fell between November and January, whereas the UK as a whole saw a rise.

It is no coincidence that unemployment in London has actually fallen in the last three months, given taxpayer-focused Conservative administrations run so much of it.

Richard Tracey

London Assembly member for Merton and Wandsworth”

In a rather desperate attempt to make a political point he grabbed at the very limited unemployment figures between November 2008 and January 2009 for evidence. The letter was even titled ‘Tory Triumph.’

Well, five months later, the Tories must be less triumphant.

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Daily View 2×2: 11 June 2009

Ah, another day, another daily view. Suddenly in the blink of an eye, polling day is a whole week behind us. Lives are being lived, new councillors swearing the oath of office and new groups working out how to work with each other in future.

Two big stories

And unlike m’colleague Alix who could trumpet an end to expenses stories, sadly today they’re back with a vengeance, as the Telegraph digs into Shahid Malik.

But never fear – “the recession has ended” ! The Independent is so confident of its analysis that it feels the need to put …

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    Sue Doughty 2nd Oct '14 - 3:39pm ". . The party in Scotland allows all its members to vote ......" Sue, Can you remind us...
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