The government announced that unemployment in the UK had dropped to 7.6%, claiming that their austerity measures, including the tightening of benefit rules, has led to an improved economy.
In fact, the number of unemployed has increased under the current coalition government – it is the criteria for measuring unemployment that has changed, leading to the governments false and misleading claims.
Some of the factors leading to false data:
- Unemployment statistics are calculated as a percentage of the working age population. The working age population has continued to rise in recent years as more people continue working rather than taking retirement – including early retirement.
- The government’s claim that it has created a million private-sector jobs is false. Over the past two years public-sector employment has fallen 521,000 while private-sector employment has increased by just over one million, a net increase of about half a million jobs. But of the one million “new” private-sector jobs the coalition claims were “created”, a fifth were obtained by cheating, because lecturers in further education and sixth-form colleges were reclassified from the public to the private sector last spring. Fiddling the data isn’t the same as creating private-sector jobs.
- 1.46 million people are working part-time because they could not find a full-time job, an increase of 24,000 over the quarter, and the highest figure since records began in 1992.
- Redefining Unemployment: originally defined as those ‘registered’ unemployed, changed to only count ‘claimants’ – this obviously reduced the number greatly as many unemployed people do not, for various reasons, claim benefits.
- By making changes to the benefit system (who is eligible and not) the government can magic away unemployment numbers by simply removing eligibility for benefits. If the person cannot claim, they are not classed as unemployed.
- The conservative government of the 80’s began to double count those in training & work programmes. First, they excluded them from the unemployed figures, then they added them to the total workforce figures – this means that simply by recruiting people into a work programme, the government has reduced the unemployment figures.
- Increases in sanctioning benefit claimants means that they are not counted in unemployment figures for the duration of the sanction.
- More than a million UK workers are on zero-hour contracts and are classed as employed whether or not they work.
Since coming to power the coalition government has changed the criteria for counting unemployment no less than 30 times – resulting in millions being discounted from official figures.
According to research carried out by the Trade Union Congress, the true unemployment figure is around the 4.78 million mark. Research by Sheffield University confirms that the true level of unemployment is nearer to 5 million.
The overall quality of the job market has reduced significantly in recent years. More people are finding themselves working in temporary or part-time jobs with little or no security for the future. The value of pay has also reduced significantly since the coalition government came to power.
More people are being forced into slave labour conditions. Those who are desperate to work full-time are finding it hard to find full employment – often taking anything to get some money into the household which often fails to service their basic needs.
More people are being forced into employment contracts which are exploitative and offer little stability or protection.