Category Archives: Jobs

Labour challenges Johnson government to ‘Build it in Britain’ creating 400,000 new jobs

 

How pleasant to be able to report on something positive the Labour Party is doing.

The ‘green economic recovery’ was a Corbyn initiative, of course.

Ahead of this month’s Comprehensive Spending Review, Labour is calling for an economic recovery that will deliver high-skilled jobs in every part of the UK as part of the drive towards a clean economy. It is also calling for the low-carbon infrastructure of the future to be built in Britain.

Labour’s calls follow an extensive consultation with businesses, trade unions and other stakeholders around what a credible green recovery should look like, which received almost 2,000 responses. The consultation indicated that the Government must:

  • Recover Jobs
    By bringing forward planned capital investment and dedicating it to low-carbon sectors – at least £30billion in the next 18 months – as part of a rapid stimulus package to support up to an estimated 400,000 additional jobs.
  • Retrain Workers
    By putting in place an emergency training programme to equip people affected by the unemployment crisis with the skills they need for the future greener economy.
  • Rebuild business
    By creating a National Investment Bank similar to those operating in other countries, focused on green investment, and by ensuring that public investment always aids the drive to net-zero rather than hindering it.

The consultation report details a number of areas where progress has so far been limited in the UK, but where action now would support the creation of new jobs and tackle the climate and environmental crisis. They include:

  • Investing in upgrading ports and shipyards for offshore wind supply chains.
  • Expanding investment in Carbon Capture and Storage and hydrogen to help establish new opportunities for highly-skilled workers.
  • Accelerating planned investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and ensuring the planning system better supports electric vehicle charging.
  • Bringing forward orders for electric buses to help struggling manufacturers fill their order books.
  • Introducing a National Nature Service, an employment programme to focus on nature conservation projects.
  • Expanding energy efficiency and retrofit programmes, including in social housing.
  • Ensuring that updated Sector Deals for sectors like automotive, steel and aerospace protect jobs and promote the shift to net zero.
  • Bringing forward flooding protection investment, prioritising areas of need across the North West, Yorkshire and the East Midlands.

These should be delivered within a wider strategy that also meets the UK’s overall infrastructure needs at the upcoming Spending Review.

Ed Miliband MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said:

“We face a jobs emergency and a climate emergency. It’s time for a bold and ambitious plan to deliver hundreds of thousands of jobs which can also tackle the climate crisis.

“This is the right thing to do for so many people who are facing unemployment, the right thing to do for our economy to get a lead in the industries of the future and the right thing to do to build a better quality of life for people in our country.

“As other countries lead the way with a green recovery, Britain is hesitating. It’s time to end the dither and inaction, and start delivering now.  It is what the British people deserve and what the crises we face demand.”

Anneliese Dodds MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, said:

“Labour is ambitious for Britain. We can harness the opportunities for green growth if the Government takes the right decisions now.

“In recent years, and particularly during this crisis, our country has fallen behind in the drive to a cleaner, greener economy.  We’ve seen far more rhetoric than action – and that has cost our country jobs.

“Future generations will judge us by the choices we make today to tackle the unemployment crisis and face up to the realities of the climate emergency.

“That’s why we need coordinated action to support 400,000 jobs of the future today, not tomorrow. Now’s the time to build it in Britain.”

Source: Labour challenges government to ‘Build it in Britain’ and support 400,000 new jobs with green economic recovery – The Labour Party

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25 jobseekers for every job on Tory government’s own website

Do the Tories really intend to penalise people for failing to get work – according to Universal Credit rules – when there are so few jobs available?

Thanks to Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock, and their government’s inability to manage Covid-19 properly, there are now 2.3 million UK citizens claiming Universal Credit.

Sanctions have been reimposed so they must follow the rules and go after the jobs that are available – no matter how unsuitable, or indeed distant.

The situation is absurd – as the Frank Zola blog pointed out while revealing that current figures on the government’s own jobsite mean 25 people are available for every job.

That’s not taking into account regional issues – the jobs are unlikely to be in the same places as all the people available for them.

What a ridiculous situation. And to think only last December people trusted the Tories.

Source: Absurd as 2.3 million Universal Credit claimants required to chase “90,939 Jobs” on DWP Jobsite (findajob.dwp.gov.uk) | Frank Zola

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What will you say when they ask what you did in the class war?


I seem to have hit a nerve when I said the Tories are waging a class war on anyone who isn’t filthy rich.

In fact, two Vox Political articles touched on this class war – the first implied it, the second made it explicit.

Today I opened Twitter to discover those words all over the place:

I’m not claiming credit for calling a thing by its name – this is “multiple discovery”, “simultaneous invention”, “synchronicity” or, if you like, an expression of the “zeitgeist”. More and more people are simply coming to realise, understand and accept that it is the policy of the UK’s Conservative government to push them down unfairly.

That is what the decision – and it was a decision, deliberately made – to punish ‘A’ level pupils who weren’t from private schools was all about. Yes, Gavin Williamson and the other Tories are saying it was down to a mechanical system, an algorithm – but that algorithm was written by a human being who intended it to give an advantage to the children of very rich people.

In this way, the Tory class war has stolen your children’s futures and given them to the undeserving rich.

It’s what the decision  – and it was a decision, deliberately made – not to fight Covid-19 in any meaningful way was all about. Tens of thousands of people in care homes have died – your relatives, maybe – because Matt Hancock and the other Tories said people with Covid-19 who lived in those homes should be sent back to them – never mind the fact that they did not have isolation facilities and the virus would run through those places like wildfire and be transferred to others by part-time staff who worked in different homes run by the same – private – firm.

The Tories – and their private business collaborators – failed to source personal protective equipment, ventilators, tests and the facilities to carry out tests. The lockdown they imposed was half-hearted and failed to stop the progress of the disease. Now that they have lifted it, albeit with a few measures still in place, more people are contracting the virus again. So they have stopped reporting the daily number of infections.

And the Tories have rewarded their private business collaborators for their failures with hugely expensive contracts to continue failing us – all at the public expense. Serco’s test and trace contract has been renewed, even though we know it won’t stop any second wave (really just a resurgence of the first wave that was suppressed but never went away).

You won’t get justice against the Tories by the normal means available to civil society because the Tories have either corrupted them already or are in the process of doing so. Boris Johnson illegally terminated Parliament’s last session in the autumn of 2019 and what was the result? He called a general election, lied to us until he was purple in the face and was rewarded with an 80-seat Parliamentary majority.

Now he is using that power to ensure that the courts will not be able to stop any more of his corruption by planning a curb on judicial review of government activity. He is imposing a dictatorship – just as he told you he would, if you could have been bothered to read page 48 of his election manifesto.

The police won’t help. Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock, Gavin Williamson and the others are all above the law – no matter what they do. Try reporting a cabinet minister for a crime and see how far you get. They’ll tell you they’re treating it seriously, bounce the accusation around a few different departments and then say there’s no evidence. I’ve been there.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died already because it is Tory policy to kill claimants of sickness or disability claimants, who they consider to be “useless eaters”. That’s why the newspapers have been full of reports showing people with long-term illnesses and disabilities starving to death.

They wanted your homes so they imposed the Bedroom Tax and took them away from you.

The list goes on and on.

And still, too many people think they are the best choice to run the UK – even though the economy is in its deepest recession ever, and Brexit means it may never recover. You will suffer – they won’t. They have been stockpiling your cash and will simply use it to sit out any unpleasantness in the future.

But I feel sure a tipping-point will come – a flashpoint. I wonder how much we will all have to lose before that happens. I’m guessing it’ll be pretty much everything.

By then, many people may think there is nothing they can do. I am reminded yet again of Martin Niemoller’s poem about how the Nazis came for different groups who received no help from anybody else until, by the time they come for the author, there was nobody even left for him to ask.

But I am reminded of another group who were put in a similar position. When I visited Bosnia in the 1990s, I was told how – when the tanks from other countries moved in – the people, who were weaponless, left their homes and went up into the hills. They came back at night, when they took weapons – and lives – from the soldiers who had taken everything from them. And slowly, they took back their land from their oppressors.

I can see that happening here in the future.

I would rather it didn’t.

But it will, if people of good conscience don’t wake up, get up and put up a fight.

Keir Starmer won’t do it. He agrees with the Tories. That’s why he’s busy turning the Labour Party into Tory Lite Mk II (New Labour was Mk I) and accusing anybody who disagrees with him of anti-Semitism.

If you don’t want this to fall into violence, then you need to think what else you can do.

The ‘A’ level fiasco creates opportunities. Already some further education institutions have said they will take students who were downgraded, on the basis of their predicted results. Some haven’t. Clearly we should take note of the side that each University, each college, takes. Those who do the right thing should be rewarded in whatever ways we can. Those who do not should be shunned – meaning not only that we should not even try to send our children there, but that we should reject their graduates when they seek employment with our businesses. We know they won’t be any damn good anyway.

And employers who turn down applicants on the basis of the Tory algorithm’s discredited results should also be named, so we can stop buying their products.

That’s the best – non-violent – response I can conceive on the spur of the moment, and these things need to start happening now.

We’d better get to it, if we don’t want to roll over and die. And yes, that means you.

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Johnson ADVISES on coronavirus containment – at what cost to businesses and people?

Boris Johnson has suggested that people might be well-advised to avoid their place of work, their local pub, and travel in his latest bid to stop the spread of coronavirus:

  • He has suggested – not ordered – that everyone should avoid public gatherings and places like pubs, clubs and theatres.

That’s fine if the pub has insurance to cover an interruption of business – and if the insurance company pays out. Johnson has only advised people to stay away, and interruption of business insurance is specifically to cover losses suffered by a business after a disaster. Considering the number of pubs that may have such insurance, and therefore the likely number of claims, it seems likely that the insurance companies might themselves go bankrupt if they pay out.

… That’s unless they have insurance too.

I don’t think they’ll pay. I think Johnson has deliberately tried to avoid forcing the insurers to take a financial hit by restricting his announcement to advice, and they will take advantage of that, no matter what it does to the economy in the long run.

Personally, I do much of my best work in pubs so this is a bitter blow.

  • He wants everyone who can work from home to do so.

That won’t go down well with some companies. One newspaper that formerly employed me (which shall remain nameless) refused point-blank to allow home working during normal working hours because the bosses were convinced that I would bunk off and enjoy myself instead.

That decision proved to be catastrophically myopic (although this firm didn’t actually go to the wall, like many others after I left them).

  • All “unnecessary” visits to friends and relatives in care homes should cease, he says.

How do you define a “necessary” visit to a friend or relative in a care home? I’m assuming that they’ll just close their doors to visitors.

  • People should only use the NHS “where we really need to” – and can reduce the burden on workers by getting advice on the NHS website where possible, he says.

This is transparent enough; he knows he and his party have ruined the National Health Service to the point where it cannot cope with a pandemic.

So he is loading the burden onto the general public to decide when they are sick enough to need professional treatment. I predict that people who aren’t really ill will clog up the hospitals while the genuinely sick will stay away – possibly until they are beyond help.

Oh, and

  • Schools will not be closed for the moment.

Why not? School pupils are among the most prolific transmitters of illnesses we know.

And what will happen if parents take the decision to keep their kids away? Will they face punishment?

Once again we say a weak figurehead – and a poor excuse for a leader – making confusing and contradictory pronouncements in a bid to look decisive. At what cost to the rest of us in the future?

Source: Coronavirus: PM says everyone should avoid office, pubs and travelling – BBC News

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Paper highlights government-created barriers to work for people with disabilities

Brick wall: Wheelchair-user Abbi Brown may have felt that using public transport was like running up against a similarly-impenetrable barrier.

This is a pleasant surprise.

I had expected an article in The Express about the way people with disabilities are kept out of jobs to be an attempt to pressgang them into inappropriate positions; it isn’t.

Instead, it highlights the problems faced by people who want to work but are hampered by attitudes to their disabilities.

So we read the story of the woman behind the Maltesers “disability” advertising campaign, whose journeys to work took twice as long as anybody else’s because rail operators have failed to make their journeys accessible for people with disabilities.

We learn about the man who struggled to get job interviews until he stopped mentioning that he is almost totally blind.

He works in information technology using adapted software and magnifiers that mean the quality of his work is not affected.

He was even put off attending an interview by one firm’s illegal attitude to his guide dog! While he did take part, after reminding the company representative of their legal obligation, the experience convinced him that he would not want to work there.

Finally, we were told about the man who tried to use the Tory government’s ‘Access to Work’ scheme – only to struggle with asphyxiating bureaucracy and the short deadlines it demands.

These are real problems for people with disabilities who want to get into work, that the Tory government has done its best to ignore.

For example, nine railway operators have had the deadline for making their trains accessible extended after failing to do anything about it. What happens when they break the new deadline? Will it be extended again?

A fat lot of good that will be for people with disabilities.

And what happens to those who are blocked from work through no fault of their own?

They have to claim state benefits – and readers of This Site should know very well how badly the assessment systems are rigged against them.

We end up with a situation in which some of our brightest and best people may be thrown onto the street to curl up and die, simply because they are slightly different from the rest of us.

This is a timely article from the Express.

It reminds us that, while the UK is becoming demonstrably racist amid the controversy over Brexit, there is a terrifying undercurrent of disablism going generally unreported.

Source: How one million disabled people are shut out of employment in the UK | UK | News | Express.co.uk

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140,000 retail jobs lost in worst year for quarter of a century. That’s Tory government for you

Pretty soon, high street shopfronts will be no use as anything other than sheltering spots for homeless people.

So much for the party of business.

Guess what I’m going to say?

That’s right: 14 million Tories voted to flush our shops down the sewer.

Let’s sit back and watch…

… as Boris Johnson does nothing about it apart from talk out of his clacker.

More than 140,000 jobs on UK high streets have been axed in the past year, new figures suggest.

2019 has proved the worst year for high street employment levels in a quarter of a century, according to a report by the the Centre for Retail Research (CRR).

More than 16,000 stores shut their doors for good over the course of the year, the new data shows.

The CRR said job losses had leapt by more than a fifth over the past 12 months compared to the previous year.

It warned the year ahead could see an even more dire outlook for traditional retail stores and jobs.

The majority of job losses, around 78,600, came as part of store closures by retailers cutting costs, as the growth of online shopping and high fixed costs of bricks-and-mortar stores took a heavy toll.

Source: 140,000 retail jobs lost in worst year for quarter of a century

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Tory wage and benefit cuts mean millions are struggling to pay essential bills

Money: Boris Johnson is rolling in it but his policies have starved the UK of the cash that is the lifeblood of the economy.

Nearly 2.2 million people in the UK are struggling to pay council tax, rent and utility bills because they aren’t paid enough, according to research by two universities.

The reason is Conservative restrictions on pay rises since 2010.

So much for the “trickle-down” economics of neoliberalism, beloved by Boris Johnson and his cronies.

The research by the University of Birmingham and the University of Lincoln shows that nearly 1.6 million people have fallen behind with council tax payments.

Nearly a million people are behind with their rent and more than a million are in arrears over their water bills.

Nearly 2.2 million people have been contacted by bailiffs over failure to pay (which suggests that many have multiple bill-related problems), and nearly one million have said bailiffs have broken the rules.

These findings make a nonsense of claims that average wages are rising.

Perhaps those figures have been skewed by huge increases in the amounts paid to top earners, while those of us who do the work are left to struggle?

Experience shows that higher pay for workers results in increased productivity and market dominance – as Henry Ford learned when he doubled the wages of employees at his motor company in the early 20th century.

He called it the best cost-cutting measure he ever made.

Conversely, as workers struggle to survive real-terms wage cut after wage cut, productivity in the UK has suffered its worst drop in five years.

We have nearly a million people struggling to cope with zero-hours contracts in which they don’t know whether they’ll be working (and therefore earning) from one week to the next.

Average weekly real-terms earnings are not as high as they were before the 2008 financial crash, while bills have increased.

Poverty is particularly high in accommodation and food services; agriculture, forestry and fishing; administrative and support services; and wholesale and retail.

Few households have any savings worth mentioning – the rate is lower than the EU average and far lower than many of our largest and closest European neighbours.

Oh, and Boris Johnson is determined to force us into a “no deal” Brexit, creating even harsher economic conditions.

Considering the situation now, it seems this would be a huge mistake.

He would literally run the entire country into the gutter.

Source: Millions struggling to pay council tax and other essential bills, finds study

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DWP inappropriately lists – then drops – ‘striptease artist’ as career for jobseekers

Strip club:Would you want your school-leaver to have to consider this as a career because the DWP told them to?

On the day this year’s GCSE results came out, no doubt you can picture the scene yourself.

“Gosh!” says young Virginia. “I’m so lucky! I got just the right grades to be a stripper! My careers teacher told me a might.

“And it’s so handy because I’ll probably see him, along with lots of my other teachers, down at the club!

“Not only that, but if I work really hard, I might be able to move on into prostitution, like that nice Liberal Democrat councillor suggested!

“That will give me a chance to meet all his colleagues from County Hall!”

I know it’s a little unfair to suggest a link between stripping and prostitution, but I hope it makes the point that our young people are increasingly being treated as sex objects by people in positions of influence.

The good news is that the DWP has now apparently withdrawn the page putting forward “striptease artist” as a career option, saying it was a “mistake”.

A government website advising benefit claimants on how to look for jobs suggests people on Universal Credit could find work as “striptease artists”.

The Department for Work and Pensions’ online tool is designed to help claimants “discover roles that match your skills and interests” and suggests search terms to help jobseekers find appropriate roles.

However, its webpage lists “striptease artist” alongside such jobs as hotel assistant, lobby attendant and bingo assistant.

It suggests the term could be used “in your online [job] search”, and describes the kind of work involved as “dances in adult entertainment establishments”.

Source: DWP Advice Site Lists ‘Striptease Artist’ As Possible Work For Universal Credit Claimants | HuffPost UK

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