Should I Move For Work?

Thu, 19/01/2012 - 19:20 -- nick

Is it worth moving for work? The Government, local authorities and housing associations are putting plans in place to support people to move house for work through social housing exchanges, allowing tenants to swap their house or flat for one in an area in which they have found work. Norman Tebbit, the Employment Secretary, said in 1981 that his father ‘got on his bike and looked for work, and he kept looking 'til he found it’, implying that the unemployed should takr a leaf out of his book, and in 2010 Ian Duncan Smith, Tebbit’s successor, urged the children of Tebbit’s jobless to do the same.
If you decide a move would be beneficial, where should you go? We hear a lot about the differences in unemployment between different regions in Britain. But the real employment hotspots may surprise you. The level of unemployment is (NOMIS October 2011 figures):
North East – 11.7%
London – 9.9%
Yorkshire and Humber – 9.5%
West Midlands – 9.2%
Wales – 9.1%
North West – 8.7%
Scotland – 8.5%
East Midlands – 7.9%
East of England – 7.2%
South West – 6.6%
South East – 6.1%
Great Britain – 8.3%
The thing that jumps out of these figures is that London, so often presented as the economic powerhouse of Britain, has the second-highest unemployment rate of any region. If you are thinking of moving to London, even apart from the much higher cost of living the unemployment rate should make you think again.
But let’s put the cost of living back in to the equation. Here are the average house prices by region (November 2011 -
Greater London - £440,230
South East - £282,821
South West - £229,871
East Anglia - £207,347
West Midlands - £176,576
East Midlands - £165,006
Scotland - £163,091
Yorks and Humber - £160,742
North West - £159,117
Wales - £156,640
North - £141,089
If you want to sell your house in an area with higher unemployment you may not be able to afford to buy in a lower unemployment area such as the South East or South West even if you want to relocate. The most glaring regional issue is found in London; the area with the second-highest unemployment rate in Britain has the highest house prices.
Rents are also higher in London and the South, and new government proposals mean the amount of housing benefit any family can receive is capped at £400 per week. In many Southern areas, and particularly London, that is likely to put you in an area you may not consider to be safe if you have a larger family and need more space.
And if you have already found a job and you can afford to move, including the higher accommodation, transport and even food costs? This sounds like a no-brainer; people move for work all the time.
A June 2010 blog by Diane Abbott on Guardian Online (written in response to the Government urging people to move across the country for work) highlighted the valuable contributions that local communities make to their residents, the importance of social networks – friends and family – in supporting people to be productive, and the disruption to children’s schools, childcare and healthcare that can arise from such a move:
The social cost is difficult to quantify, but we can put a price on certain elements of it. If you get free childcare from family or friends that could amount to more than one thousand pounds per child you would have to find in a new area. Suddenly that move looks bad value even if you get a significant pay rise for it.
Only you can know whether a work move is right for you and your family. In the modern world in which both partners in a typical family work it may be too difficult for both to find work in a new area. Just remember to weigh up all the pros and cons, financial and social, before you decide.
by UnemployedNet