While the headlines and news items on television are dazzling us with Prince Charming unable to find lurve (actually, it is tempting to shout, “Who’s ya daddy”?!) the real story of today is being scheduled down the list with Prince Harry trying to find his Cinders being touted as top notch-news. Who gives a damn about a reactionary posh squaddie 3rd in line to the monarchy (Vive la République!) while unemployment is increasing.
More than 30,000 NHS workers and 71,000 in education were among more than a quarter of a million public sector staff who lost their jobs in 2011 as the government’s austerity measures started to bite.
Official figures revealed that a total of 270,000 posts were cut from the public sector payroll last year, reducing the workforce by almost 7%, to 5.94 million.
The reaction from the ConDems is that they are playing down these statistics by saying there are ”Signs of stabilization in these figures” (Chris Grayling). Other talking heads (like the one I was listening to on the news who was some manager of a temp agency) were also stating that there are jobs out there.
The BBC’s Norman Smith, Chief political correspondent, also gave his tuppence h’alfpenny on full-time jobs and unemployment being masked by the increase of part-time work:
Full-time jobs fell by 50,000 but there were 59,000 new part-time posts.
Obviously with bourgeois economic commenters you are not getting beyond the headline figures and very little scratch-the-surface-analysis. There needs to be more detail such as getting a job might be easier for some than for others, geography, frozen pay increases, what kind of jobs people are getting and spatial differences. People are moving in and out of employment, such as finding work when they can i.e. temporary employment. Also, movement around the country taking employment when on offer but living in another part of the country (anecdotally I know 3 people doing this; London to Bristol, Swansea to Swindon, Swansea to Liverpool). The attacks on benefits, certainly with housing benefit this is nothing more than social cleansing, forced into a new area but no chance of a job.
And when you have a job, ConDems want to snatch away your employment rights:
Unite said plans to increase the qualifying period for claiming unfair dismissal from 12 months to two years will be “pushed through” by an “obscure” parliamentary committee.
It will mean an employee must have held a job for two years before they can claim unfair dismissal. Ministers proposed the change last year in a bid to cut the number of claims, as part of wider reforms of the labour market.
The realities of unemployment and recession aren’t being analysed by the opposition. Instead we have Ed Miliband (was it a footie night, perchance?!) unmuzzled his useless attack dog, Liam Byrne, on to today’s unemployment figures. He had this to say:
The surge in women’s unemployment is reaching shocking levels but instead of helping more families into work, next month’s cuts to tax credits are set to make thousands better off if they quit their jobs and start claiming out of work benefits.
Labour always bang on about tax credits, it is indeed emblematic of 13 years in government. Thin stuff! Minor stuff! Laughable, 13 years they had to really transform society… and what do we have tax credits, Sure Start and the minimum wage (even then….they had to be pressured). Tax Credits are problematic, they were invented and intended to pull people out of the poverty trap but as this is a low wage economy it ended up subsidising employers in a wage industry. Byrne wants people to be helped into work… but where is the work? What work?
People are struggling to get by, scraping a living and today’s news is depressing, with the lack of demand and investment in the economy means, where we have good solid jobs with prospects and real pay! It is a prosperous time for the rich few and everyone else can shove off to the workhouse or workfare (well, that’s the line according to Camron, Osborne and Clegg….while Miliband is watching the footie). Actually, regards to Miliband and his attack-dog, Byrne, I just expect to see more triangulation and even more triangulation.