Tag Archives: unemployment

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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Leaked report warns of Covid-Brexit “horror show” – remember THIS IS WHAT BORIS JOHNSON WANTS

Two-fingered salute: the UK might fall into lawlessness and chaos because of Boris Johnson but he doesn’t care, as long as he gets what he wants.

A Cabinet Office “reasonable worst-case” report on the effects of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit combining with another wave of Covid-19 has laid out exactly what Boris Johnson wanted for the UK when he became PM.

Johnson, you’ll remember, did not want any trade deals with the European Union after the UK leaves that bloc.

It was widely believed that this is because the hedge fund managers who supported his bid to be Tory leader have bet heavily on the UK going into recession, with many big-name firms going out of business. The claim was that they could make £8 billion out of it.

Of course, none of these multi-billionaires care a fig about the rest of us. If the country falls into chaos they’ll be off to their holiday homes in the sun, with their cash safely stowed in a tax haven.

Meanwhile, back in Blighty, you will be left to deal with food, fuel and power shortages, illness and deaths caused by flood, flu and Covid-19, and incursions into the country from outside such as EU boats coming into our fishing waters.

And, as may reasonably be expected from his government’s failures so far on Covid-19 – the school reopening furore, school meals, exam results, care home deaths, PPE procurement, face mask procurement, test and trace, contract nepotism… the list goes on and on – on flooding (remember that?) and on any other subject you care to mention, the Johnson government has not planned any response to this at all.

The article goes on to state:

  • One in 20 Town Halls could go bust in a second Covid wave, sparking social care chaos.
  • The economic impact of the virus and Brexit could cause public disorder, shortages and price hikes.
  • Troops may have to be drafted on to the streets to help the police in the worst-case scenario — 1,500 are already on stand by.
  • Social distancing measures and masks will have to continue until 2021 regardless.
  • Supplies of food and fuel are all under threat this Christmas if Dover becomes blocked.

The planners warned that “pandemic influenza, severe flooding, a Covid second wave and an unruly exit from the EU transition period could cause a systemic economic crisis with major impact on ­disposable incomes, unemployment, business activity, international trade and market stability.”

It could be combined with likely “coordinated industrial action” as well as shortages risking public disorder and a mental health crisis that will hit the poorest hardest.

Nobody in a Tory government is going to worry about a mental health crisis that harms poor people, of course.

And the attitude by leading Tories to this frankly terrifying report seems to be that if they ignore it, it will go away.

Michael Gove is quoted as babbling: “We got Brexit done with a great deal in January.

“A brighter future awaits as we forge our own path.”

A government spokesperson did add that this was a “reasonable worst case” scenario.

But on the Johnson ministry’s record so far, it is stretching the facts to breaking point to suggest that the government is “ensuring we are ready for all eventualities”.

That simply is not going to happen. On the evidence of the last 12 months, it would be irresponsible to believe anything Johnson, his ministers or his spokespeople say about it.

But there’s one more matter to remember:

If this disaster happens, then there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, other than to prepare as well as you can (because the Tories simply won’t).

I anticipate another stockpiling splurge, worse than the rush for toilet roll in March, at the very least.

Obviously the worst-case will be social unrest and violence – and I’m not ruling that out, either.

Whatever happens, if we end up with no deal and any of the feared outcomes are triggered, you must remember (because he’ll lie about it):

It is what Boris Johnson wanted all along.

Source: Leaked document reveals Cabinet’s emergency plans for perfect storm of No Deal Brexit and coronavirus second wave

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Skyrocketing number of people seeking temp work is due to Tory failures on Covid-19

The UK is in a Depression-era unemployment crisis, with thousands of people chasing even temporary job vacancies – because Boris Johnson and his band of Tory buffoons botched their response to Covid-19.

Johnson wanted to keep the UK open for business so he limited his lockdown and flat-out refused to quarantine the country, making the UK a magnet for the virus and causing nearly 70,000 unnecessary deaths.

As a result, the UK’s economy has taken a hammering – and will continue to do so, because he has failed to eradicate the disease.

He still thinks his mate Cummings’s dimwitted “herd immunity” idea is a good one, despite all the evidence that it is homicidal stupidity.

Meanwhile, other nations that took the wiser path are open for business again and steaming ahead. Look at New Zealand.

Johnson will try to blame anybody but himself.

But we must all be aware of the facts.

Note, though, that he is still far more popular than Keir Starmer, who forced the Labour Party into subservience to all the idiocy that Johnson announced, as if it was an intelligent plan.

This is what happens when you allow selfish neoliberal nitwits to become your political leaders: they send you into a swamp and then tell you what a great job they’re doing while the alligators rip you to pieces.

Source: Covid-19 job losses sees record numbers in UK seeking temporary work | Business | The Guardian

Covid-19: Two-thirds of poorest workers have lost jobs or been furloughed

Some political stories are very straightforward, and don’t need any explanation or debate. This appears to be one of them:

Nearly two thirds of the poorest workers have been furloughed, lost their job or had their hours or pay reduced during the pandemic, new research suggests.

Analysis from the Social Metrics Commission found 65% of workers deemed in “deep poverty” – living on less than half of what they need to stay above the poverty line – have suffered a negative hit to their livelihoods.

This compares to 35% of employed adults living more than 20% above the poverty line prior to the crisis.

The report warned that many people living in poverty could see their situation worsen, while those close to the poverty line risk falling below it due to changes to their employment prospects.

It comes as big firms cut 4,500 jobs in the first two working days of August as the Government’s furlough scheme begins to wind down.

A fifth of employees in deep poverty before coronavirus said they had since lost their jobs, compared to 7% of adults more than 20% above the poverty line.

More than a third (36%) of people at least 50% below the poverty line had been affected, compared to 22% of those more than 20% above the poverty line.

Workers from black, Asian and minority ethnic background were more affected than white people, with 10% of BAME workers hit compared to 8% of their white peers.

More than half (56%) of 18-to-24-year-olds working prior to the pandemic have experienced some kind of negative impact on their employment, compared to roughly a third of 25-to-54-year-olds previously working.

Younger people were also more than twice as likely to say they had been lonely during the pandemic than those over the age of 65.

These outcomes are not caused by Covid-19.

They have been caused by Tories. Remember that.

Source: Two thirds of poorest workers have lost jobs or been furloughed during coronavirus – Mirror Online

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Promises on disability and social security show Labour has listened

The Labour Party has paid attention to the people and published a manifesto that promises to end many of the injustices that the Conservative government (with the Liberal Democrats between 2010 and 2015) introduced.

This Writer feels duty-bound to tell you that reading the chapter on Social Security was an uplifting experience on many levels, as so many of the subjects This Site has highlighted have been tackled.

Labour will scrap the Department for Work and Pensions. This Site said the DWP had become so badly damaged by the culture of persecution instilled in it by Tory ministers from Iain Duncan Smith onwards that the only option was to dissolve it and start again. It will be replaced with a new Department of Social Security.

Labour will scrap Universal Credit. Since it began to be developed, This Site has highlighted the fact that UC was a hugely-expensive disaster – a position that was proved when it was implemented; instead of providing a convenient all-in-one safety net for people facing hard times, it has instead deliberately pushed them into poverty. It will be replaced with a new system, to be developed carefully, intending to end poverty by guaranteeing a reasonable standard of living.

While this new system is being prepared, Labour will introduce interim measures to end the cruelty imposed by the Conservatives (and Liberal Democrats), all of which address complaints raised by This Site and others:

Labour will end the so-called “digital barrier” that obstructs people who have trouble coping with computers and the internet from claiming benefits. It will offer telephone, face-to-face and outreach support.

Labour will end the five-week wait for Universal Credit payments.

Labour will reintroduce fortnightly payments, to help people manage their money.

Labour will end the Tory sanction regime.

Labour will scrap the benefit cap.

Labour will end the two-child limit on benefits and scrap the so-called ‘rape clause’, which it describes (as I do) as “immoral and outrageous”.

Labour will pay the child element of benefits to the primary carer, to ensure that women are no longer forced to stay in abusive relationships by the system.

The changes won’t just extend to Universal Credit, though.

Labour will end the Bedroom Tax and increase the Local Housing Allowance to protect people against the threat of eviction.

And the party will reform the benefit system to end its punishment of people with long-term illnesses and disabilities:

Labour will end the “dehumanising” Work Capability Assessments and PIP Assessments.

Labour will stop benefit assessments being contracted-out to private companies and ensure that all benefit assessments are carried out by DSS employees in future.

Labour will increase Employment and Support Allowance by £30 a week for people in the Work-Related Activity Group, reversing the Tory cut.

Labour will raise the basic rate of support for children with disabilities to the same level as Child Tax Credits.

Labour will give extra support to severely disabled people without a formal carer, so they can meet the extra costs they face.

Labour will increase Carers’ Allowance to the level of Jobseekers’ Allowance. This is the only measure that This Writer thinks is inadequate. Having been a carer, I know that CA is a pittance, but an increase of a few pounds a week is unlikely to help much. More harmful is the fact that, if a carer earns more than a set amount (around £120 a week), the entire allowance is cancelled. It would be better to introduce a taper, so that the amount of CA is reduced according to the amount a person earns.

And Labour  will help disabled people who want to work by bringing back specialist employment advisors, introducing a government-backed Reasonable Adjustments Passport scheme to help people move between jobs more easily, and reviewing support for disabled people at work, including the Access to Work scheme.

These are all terrific policies.

They make Labour the obvious choice for voters who are currently claiming unemployment, sickness or disability benefits.

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As the election campaign focuses on the economy, let’s remember what the Tories have done to it

Sajid Javid: He’s saying the Tories are better for the economy – but their plan has always been to ruin it for working people.

The Conservatives and Labour are promoting their economic plans today (November 7), with the Tories heavily attacking Labour plans.

But let’s remind ourselves about what the Tories have done.

Back in 2016 This Site pointed out that every Conservative government from Margaret Thatcher onwards has deliberately worked to de-industrialise the UK and increase unemployment and poverty.

Here’s a reminder of those findings:

 The Impact of Thatcherism on Health and Well-Being in Britain, published by Durham University, stated that Margaret Thatcher, along with other leading Tory neoliberals of the 1970s like Keith Joseph and Nicholas Ridley, decided that they needed to end full employment.

The paper states: “In the years between 1975 and 1979, those around Thatcher—in particular, Keith Joseph and Nicholas Ridley—developed detailed proposals for government. Their view was that defeat of the movement that had forced Heath’s U-turn [from neoliberalism to Keynesianism – it prompted the famous statement, “The lady’s not for turning”] would require, not simply the disengagement of the state from industry, but the substantial destruction of Britain’s remaining industrial base.

“The full employment that had been sustained across most of the post-war period was seen, together with the broader security offered by the welfare state, to be at the root of an unprecedented self-confidence among working-class communities.

“In particular, large-scale manufacturing and extraction industries, generally strongly unionized and often linked to the large-scale provision of social housing at subsidized rents by local government, were seen to underpin a working-class solidarity that gave this confidence a potent political expression.”

So they killed those industries, ended full employment and parked millions of people on incapacity (now sickness and/or disability benefits).

This is why Mrs Thatcher was so desperate to break the miners.

I continued by saying that the Conservative government…

is now deliberately cutting off access to benefit payments – in order to render working-class people destitute.

They knew the result would be a high budget deficit; this was to be used as an excuse for the cuts that would plunge working-class people into poverty.

Make no mistake: This was a deliberate, pre-meditated plan, and anybody who voted ‘Conservative’ between 1979 and 2015 has actively supported it, whether they were aware of it or not.

Source: Proven: The Thatcher project aimed to kill industry and create unemployment. It succeeded | Vox Political

The Tories’ big ‘unemployment rate’ lie – SHOT DOWN AGAIN

Once again, the Tories adopt the tactics of Goebbels. Once again, they fail.

The Nazi propaganda minister famously said: “The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”

Well, Philip Hammond, Amber Rudd and the rest of the Tories look ridiculous for spreading this lie again.

But they don’t care because they know that their puppies in the mainstream press will repeat it and that will be enough to convince a large number of people that it is factually accurate.

And what is that lie, you ask?

That people are better-off if they have a job.

Here’s Philip Hammond:

Amber Rudd – who still hasn’t resigned as Work and Pensions Minister yet, but it’s only a matter of time – published an attack tweet against the Labour Party on the basis of these figures – and was shot down hard:

The facts are damning, aren’t they?

Dave Ward, below, posted a poll asking whether the government figures were worth your attention:

Last time I checked, only four per cent of the thousands of respondents thought the jobs trumpeted by the Tories were worth having.

The Tory “jobs revolution” continues to break records – in exploitation.


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As Theresa May trumpets ‘record low’ unemployment, we find it stands at FOUR TIMES her official figure

Food bank: Parents who have jobs are being forced to request food packages because their greedy employers don’t pay them enough. But we’re told employment – and wages – are rocketing.

Here’s another lie from Theresa May:

It’s the official figure – but it is also fake news in its claims about unemployment and wages.

The simple fact is that the official figure fails to take into account several important elements. For example:

And if unemployment is so low, why is in-work poverty so rampant?

The answer is that the actual number of people who are unemployed is four times the official figure – nearly nine million people. The number who are actively looking for work is between three and four times the official figure, for the following reasons:

The website Business Insider provides the supporting evidence.

In a nutshell, it argues that if unemployment was so low, and employment so high, then wages would be much better: “When unemployment gets that low it generally means that anyone who wants a job can have one. It also suggests that wages will start to rise. It becomes more difficult for crappy employers to keep their workers when those workers know they can move to nicer jobs. And workers can demand more money from a new employer when they move, or demand more money from their current employer for not moving.”

But that isn’t happening. “Wages in the private sector have not started to rise. Public-sector wage rises are capped at 1%. There has been a little uptick in new-hire rates, but the overall trend is flat. This is part of the proof that shows real unemployment can’t be just 4.5%… Workers’ real incomes are actually in decline.”

This must mean that employers are still able to get people who are willing to work for rock-bottom rates, and the only way that is possible is if there are more people looking for work than jobs available.

And this means that the methodology used to work out the number of people available for work is a fiction.

Business Insider again: “For decades, economists have agreed on an artificial definition of what unemployment means. Their argument is that people who are taking time off, or have given up looking for work, or work at home to look after their family, don’t count as part of the workforce. In the UK and the US, technical “full employment” has, as a rule of thumb, historically been placed at an unemployment rate of 5% to 6%.”

You’ll notice that the Conservative government in the UK has decided that people doing unpaid family work – carers – now do count as part of the workforce, even though they are paid nothing by employers. The full list of people the Tories count as employed is here, under heading 3.

And “full employment” includes anybody who works for an hour or more per week and gets paid for it. That’s not full employment; that’s under-employment.

So we see a fiction in which unemployment figures don’t include part-time workers who want full-time jobs, “inactive” workers alienated from the workforce, people who retire, students, or those who work in the home. Once you wrap all those people in, the number of jobless people is actually 21.5 per cent of the workforce, or around 8.83 million people, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Not all the inactive people actually want work – but there are plenty who do. Add them to the official figure and you get a “real-world” unemployment rate of around 14 per cent – three times the official rate. And we should also include as jobseekers the number of people who are under-employed – working part-time hours that aren’t enough for them. That gets us to between three and four times the official rate.

That’s why wages haven’t risen – because employers have access to a large number of people who are desperate for work.

And that is why Theresa May’s unemployment figure is a lie.

As for wages – take out inflation and this is what they’re doing:

The darker line signifies real wages – and they have plummeted. Note that historically wages have run roughly in line with unemployment – until 2016, when the Tories started making their big claims about falling unemployment. That’s the moment when it started to become possible to show up these claims as lies.

So:

  • Employment might be at 75+ per cent but this includes under-employment, with some people working as little as one hour per week.
  • Real-terms unemployment stands at more than three times the official rate, at more than 14 per cent.
  • And wages are not rising at their fastest pace in a decade. They have plummeted, creating a poverty crisis that the Tories have no intention of addressing; they will simply continue lying about it.

Those are the facts. Or perhaps you prefer this answer to the issue:

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Unemployment DOES exist and – at more than 14 MILLION – it ISN’T at record lows. Philip Hammond is living in a fantasy world

Philip Hammond: This is an actual publicity shot of the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer. Draw your own conclusions!

If he’s living a fantasy, what does this presage for the Budget on Wednesday?

Many people were up in arms yesterday (November 19), after Philip Hammond told Andrew Marr the following:

“Where are all these unemployed people? There are no unemployed people.” What a silly thing to say.

He was knocked back almost straight away by Mr Marr, who pointed out that official figures show 1.42 million people on Jobseekers’ Allowance. Mr Hammond dismissed this as a historic low (it isn’t; in the early 1970s it was around one million people).

In any case, the Jobseekers’ Allowance figure is not indicative of the true number of people without work in the United Kingdom – as Mr Hammond should know full well.

In 2013, when the Jobseekers’ Allowance figure was at 2.51 million, This Site pointed out that true unemployment – according to the Office for National Statistics – was at 11.71 million. That was the number of people who were out of work and not paid the minimum wage, which is a better yardstick.

This includes not only the number officially counted as unemployed, but those counted as ‘economically inactive’ and those on government-sponsored schemes such as Workfare or the Work Programme – who work, but are paid only in government benefit money and therefore, as the taxpayer is picking up the tab, should be counted with the unemployed.

People who are ‘economically inactive’ include people who are not seeking work, such as those looking after the family or home, those who don’t want or need a job, and those who have retired early – which is why this group is not included in ONS unemployment figures – but also includes those seeking work but officially unavailable for it, such as students in their final year, people who cannot work for health-related reasons, and ‘discouraged workers’ who believe there are no jobs available.

“Where are all these unemployed people”, Mr Hammond? Here they are:

If you look at the most recent statistical release from the ONS, it states that 32.06 million people are in employment, and this is 75 per cent of the workforce aged 16 to 64. This means the workforce totals 42.75 million people.

In other words, the actual number of people who are unemployed in the UK is 10.69 million.

The ONS release states this includes 8.88 million who were economically inactive. Your guess is as good as mine as to what the other 390,000 have been doing.

The 8.88 million figure includes 2.04 million who were not looking for work due to long-term sickness, 73,000 more than for April to June 2017 and 41,000 more than for a year earlier. But we know that the Tory government is doing its best to force these people off-benefit and into work of any kind. Shouldn’t they be included in the official unemployment rate, rather than simply being lumped among the economically-inactive?

And there is another question: Under-employment.

How many people are in zero-hours contracts now? Nearly a million. Those people are not contributing as much as they want, and most of them are certainly not earning as much as they would like. But the current government classes them in exactly the same way as somone in full employment.

How many people are self-employed? 4.81 million – an increase of 25,000 since September 2016. How many of those are self-employed because they can’t afford to retire? How many are self-employed but not earning as much as the minimum wage (sorry – National Living Wage)? Half of them, according to the Resolution Foundation. That’s 2.4 million.

Hey – what about students looking for work? 177,000 (aged 16-24). People on government training programmes? 73,000.

So the combined number of unemployed or under-employed people in the UK comes to around 14.34 million. That’s a whopping 12.92 million more than the Tories are claiming.

That’s why the social media erupted at Mr Hammond’s ill-chosen words. Here’s a selection:

https://twitter.com/ShehabKhan/status/932202401934839810

And there’s one more point to make: What would the Conservatives have done if a Labour politician had made such a wild claim about unemployment?

Current Tory press chief is Carrie Symonds – who loves to leap at the Labour Party at every opportunity:

Here she is, attacking John McDonnell for words he spoke during his appearance on the same Andrew Marr show:

Perhaps she has forgotten that, in the June general election, Labour provided exhaustively-detailed explanations of how it would fund all its policies, while the Conservative Manifesto offered nothing.

It seems Mr Hammond is not the only Conservative living a fantasy.


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Here’s why Theresa May’s prattling about ‘falling unemployment’ is meaningless

If only her nose did grow longer every time she lied. She might think twice about it [Image: Daily Mirror.]

Those of us who tune in to Prime Minister’s Questions religiously know the experience can be like Purgatory most weeks – especially when Theresa May resorts to a regularly-trotted-out litany.

Yesterday, she was crowing about the just-announced seasonal fall in unemployment as though it meant something. It didn’t – and it doesn’t.

Her words: “The employment figures today… show unemployment at its lowest levels since the mid-1970s, and that employment—people in work; people taking home a wage, a salary, to support their family—is at record levels, the highest levels since records began.”

But This Writer pointed out yesterday (September 13) that the rising number of zero-hours contracts means people can be employed for extremely short periods every week – and still be bumped off the benefit books. That’s why productivity isn’t up.

In addition, the fact that people aren’t getting paid enough is the reason tax revenues are down, the government isn’t paying off its debts and there are no money for services (along with the fact that the very rich and huge corporations are being let off paying their taxes altogether because they and Tory ministers are “all in it together”).

Perhaps Mrs May thought she’d get away with this nonsense. She hasn’t.

Aaron Bastani of Novara Media explains the real situation here:

And here are just a few of the reactions on Twitter:


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