More than 250,000 desperate job seekers will spend their second successive Christmas on the dole, says the TUC.
The shocking figure flies in the face of government claims that they’re supporting more long-term unemployed people into work.
And the TUC claim the actual number could be as high as 700,000, because it only includes unemployed people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
Despite a recent fall in long-term unemployment in 2014, there was a rise in young people left stranded on the dole in November 2014.
This points to a falling proportion of long-term unemployed jobseekers receiving the support they need from the benefit system.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“One Christmas out of work is hard enough, but by the second Christmas your savings will all be gone and your confidence has probably taken a significant hit.
“It’s hard to bring some festive cheer to your family in that situation, especially for parents who want to make Christmas special for their children.”
Frances O’Grady blamed Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship back-to-work programme for the plight of hundreds of thousands of young jobseekers.
“If the government’s Work Programme for long-term unemployed people had performed as well as the ministers said it was going to, there would be far fewer people facing a second Christmas on the dole.
“What’s more, there has been a worrying rise in the proportion of long-term unemployed people not receiving any help at all. The government should focus on providing long-term unemployed people with proper support to move back into work rather than blaming them for our unequal jobs recovery.”
London has the highest number of people claiming JSA for longer than 12 months at 36,785, with the West Midlands coming in second at 31,175 and Yorkshire and the Humber in third at 30,105.
Under the ILO definition these figures would be 107,059, 87,828 and 75,094 respectively.
TUC say the overall long-term ILO unemployment count has fallen nearly a third slower than the overall long-term claimant count – a drop of 23.2 per cent compared to 33.7 per cent for the long-term claimant count over the past 12 months.
Source – Welfare Weekly, 22 Dec 2014
Welfare News Service asked the Office for National Statistics (ONS):
Could you please verify as to whether ‘sanctioned’ Jobseekers in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance (both income and contributory based) are included in official government statistics/datasets submitted to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in relation to UK unemployment. Could you also further clarify as to whether this remains the case in relation to Universal Credit?
Does this extend to ‘sanctioned’ ESA WRAG recipients?
Thank you for your recent request under the Freedom of Information Act regarding the effect of sanctions on UK unemployment statistics.
Unemployment in the UK is measured using the Labour Force Survey (LFS), consistent with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) definition. The LFS is a sample survey of people living in private households. The survey asks a series of questions about respondents’ personal circumstances and their activity in the labour market.
Through these questions every respondent is classified as in employment, unemployed or economically inactive, consistent with ILO definitions. The LFS and ILO defines an individual as unemployed if they are without work, available for work and seeking work. The UK applies this as ‘anybody who is not in employment and has actively sought work in the last 4 weeks and is available to start work in the next 2 weeks, or has found a job and is waiting to start in the next 2 weeks’, is considered to be unemployed.
As this data is gathered from a survey, the LFS, it is independent of whether or not the individual is claiming benefits, and therefore is not affected by sanctions.
If an individual who is in the Work Related Activity Group of Employment and Support Allowance is meeting the above criteria they would also be counted as unemployed irrespective of whether they are being sanctioned or not. The same would also be true of any claimants of Universal Credit who meet this criteria.
ONS also publishes the Claimant Count, which is the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). People who are sanctioned are those who have an underlying entitlement to JSA, but have not followed the rules of the benefit scheme. People who are sanctioned do not automatically have their claim closed by DWP, but will not receive payment of JSA during the period of the sanction. Any live sanctioned claim, where the individual continues to sign on, would continue to be included within the Claimant Count. However, if they choose not to sign-on during their sanction period, their claim will be closed, as would be the case generally if a claimant fails to sign on – and as such would not be included in the Claimant Count.
Currently the Claimant Count estimates do not include any claimants of Universal Credit. ONS will include jobseeker Universal Credit claims in the Claimant Count statistics as soon as possible. The absence of Universal Credit claimants currently has a small effect on the Claimant Count for the UK.
We’re still waiting for the DWP to respond to our FOI.
Source – Welfare News Service, 09 Sept 2014