nick's blog

Unemployment falls and wages rise - but job quality still questionable

Wed, 18/03/2015 - 22:35 -- nick

The latest unemployment figures give pause for thought for those who believe in a UK recovery and those who don't.

Over the three months to January 2015 the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that, although the number out of work went down by 102,000, the rate was stuck at 5.7% as the UK's working age population increased.

A drop of more than 200,000 in the number unemployed for more than a year is good news, but youth unemployment remains stubbornly high at over 16% and falling only slowly.

Reverse-Robin-Hood Osborne to raid benefits again to give to the rich

Thu, 12/03/2015 - 13:54 -- nick

George Osborne is to deliver the final budget of this parliament next week, and as usual, his familiars and henchmen are already trailing details to his favoured media outlets.

Trying to keep the Mail - and its millions of readers - onside is a Tory priority, with its rival Express already likely to support UKIP at the May election and the Mail casting eyes in that direction.

Regional disparities in sanctions show ridiculousness of coalition position

Wed, 11/03/2015 - 13:46 -- nick

A new sanctions report by housing charity Crisis shows why the coalition's drive to ramp up the number of sanctions is illogical as well as damaging.

As part of the study researchers found a huge difference between the rate of sanctions in different areas.

The Western Isles of Scotland saw just 1.8% of claimants have their benefits ripped away, while Richmondshire in North Yorkshire had a rate of 15.4%.

IDS, chief poor-basher, tells Tories not to bash the poor

Wed, 04/03/2015 - 14:02 -- nick

We are used to rank idiocy from Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and a man who George Osborne apparently described as 'thick'.

We are used to his dangerous sense of reformist zeal, imagining himself as a Gladstonian figure who is determined to go into the poorest parts of the UK and reform their residents by starving them into submission.

Work Programme doesn't work and exploits jobseekers

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 15:42 -- nick

This story has been sent to us by an anonymous jobseeker who is angry at the poor quality of service he received while on the Work Programme. He has written in his own words to express some of the frustrations the Programme caused him, and to accuse the government of presiding over a system that fails too many, exploits the free labour provided and takes little account of each person's needs:

DWP responsible for half of UK hunger says study

Mon, 02/03/2015 - 14:05 -- nick

The reasons why so many people in the UK - the world's sixth largest economy - are facing the trauma of going hungry have been disputed since the coalition came to power.

The Tory-led government has consistently denied any link between its policies and food bank use, suggesting instead a range of reasons including that free food will always find takers (Lord Freud, minister for welfare reform, came up with that one, ignoring the fact that food banks only accept referrals from official sources and real poverty needs to be demonstrated first).

Zero-hour contracts do not prevent unemployment, they hide it

Fri, 27/02/2015 - 14:01 -- nick

The latest figures on zero-hour contracts were released last week, and these showed a big jump to 1.8 million in operation in the UK.

700,000 people work using this arrangement as their main job, and the majority are in low-paid sectors like hospitality and retail.

Given the lack of guaranteed hours and the typically low earnings even when these are granted, they should not be seen as a positive to the UK economy.

They are, though, useful for companies, who can tie people up and keep them on the hook without having to pay them.

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