Last week’s unemployment figures provided fresh evidence that Britain is becoming divided – long-term unemployment rose yet again, so did long-term youth unemployment and unemployment in two-thirds of England is now higher than it was at the time of the general election.
Here in the Rother Valley, long-term unemployment has gone up 70% in the last year whilst long-term youth unemployment has gone up 106% in the last year.
There are also many other real worries in the monthly unemployment figures with youth unemployment and women’s unemployment both higher than a month ago.
Another major concern is that over a third of the unemployed across the country have been out of work for over a year. These are precisely the people the Government’s flagship Work Programme was supposed to help, however the programme is in total gridlock because Jobcentre staff have lost all faith in it.
This failure is now becoming deep-set and it is costing us a fortune. Long-term unemployment and a rising claimant count is helping push up the welfare bill by an eye-watering £24 billion.
Half of the jobs created since 2010 are part-time and the squeeze on families is getting tighter and tighter. Prices are rising faster than earnings and yet the Government is cutting tax credits for working families while giving 8,000 millionaires a tax cut. This is pushing thousands of hard-working people closer to the poverty line.