The North-East has lost public sector jobs at nearly five times the rate of London, the TUC says.
Austerity measures have resulted in an unequal impact on UK regions with 36,000 public sector jobs having been cut in the region since 2010.
Between 2010 and this year public sector employment in the North-East fell by 13.4 per cent – the biggest drop of any UK region – from 268,000 to 232,000 at the start of this year.
In contrast public sector employment fell by three per cent in London and by 2.5 per cent in the South-East over the same period, analysis of Office for National Statistics data revealed.
Nearly One Million Workers STILL Can’t Find Full-Time Jobs, Says TUC
The number of people working fewer hours than they desire remains nearly a million higher than before the financial crisis, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) claims.
An analysis by the TUC exposes the true crisis of underemployment in Britain today, revealing the shocking number of part-time workers who can’t find full-time jobs.
Underemployment has risen sharply since the recession, reaching a staggering 3.4 million in early 2014 – compared to 2.3 million in 2008.
Despite falling slightly in the last year to just under 3.3 million by early 2015, underemployment is still more than 900,000 higher than pre-recession levels.
TUC’s findings come ahead of the latest unemployment data, which will be published by the Office for National Statistics later this week. This is expected to show a continued improvement in the employment rate. However, the TUC warns that ‘too many poor quality jobs’ have left the issue of tackling underemployment ‘stuck in the slow lane’.
Controversial zero-hours contracts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to low-paid and insecure jobs, according to a new report published today.
An analysis by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) shows that in addition to the 700,000 people on zero-hours contracts, a further 820,000 workers are underemployed – working between 0 and 19 hours a week.
The TUC says that whilst zero-hours contracts have featured heavily in the news, underemployment is blighting the lives of “hundreds of thousands of workers” struggling to make ends meet.
Workers on ‘short-hours contracts’ are typically paid a much lower hourly wage than other workers, the TUC says. The hourly rate for a short-hours worker is just £8.40, compared to an overall average for all employees of £13.20 an hour.
According to the TUC, short-hours contracts “give too much power to the employer” and allows them to escape having to pay National Insurance for their employees.
Like zero-hours contracts, workers on short-hours contracts can be offered as little as one hour paid work each week and have to compete with colleagues for extra hours.
Workers in the retail sector are the hardest hit by low-paid contracts. Nearly 250,000 people working in shops, supermarkets, warehouses and garages are trapped on short-hours – 29% of all underemployed workers. This compares to 16% in the education sector, 14% in food services and 12% of health and social care workers.
The TUC’s report shows that women account for nearly three-quarters (71.5%) of all workers trapped on short-hours contracts.
Zero-hours and short-hours contracts, along with low-paid and bogus self-employment, have reduced tax revenues and are harming the UK economy, according to the TUC.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Zero-hours contracts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to low-paid, insecure work.
“Hundreds of thousands of other workers find themselves trapped on short-hours contracts that simply do not guarantee enough hours for them to make ends meet.
“Like zero-hours contracts, short-hour contracts give too much power to the employer. Bosses have an incentive to offer low wages and fewer hours to get out of paying national insurance.
“Without more decent jobs, people will continue to have to survive off scraps of work and UK productivity will continue to tank.”
The report also draws attention to a sharp increase in self-employment, which accounts for 31% of the net rise in employment since 2010. Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that average earning for self-employed people have fallen dramatically by 22% since 2008/09.
New figures published by Eurostat place the UK at 23rd out of 28 for its record on underemployment.
The figures show that UK underemployment is 31% higher than the EU average, which the TUC says is a sign of the Government’s failure to create high-quality jobs.
Frances O’Grady said:
“These figures show what a bad time British people are having at work compared with their European neighbours.
“We have a fragile recovery built on pumped-up house prices, instead of the strong foundation of good quality jobs with decent hours and wages.
“The current approach just isn’t delivering enough high quality jobs to meet demand and it’s leaving too many families struggling to get by on scraps of work.”
Source – Welfare Weekly, 27 Apr 2015
A whopping 1,300 people applied for just 16 jobs at a new Tesco store set to open in the North East.
The Tesco Express on Barrack Road, in Newcastle, is due to open its doors to the public on April 14.
The supermarket has revealed that it received the large number of applications – which equates to around 81 bids per post – when it started its recruitment process.
Store manager Iain Anderson, who has worked at Tesco for nearly 15 years, said:
“I was thrilled by the response we received to our recruitment drive. There were so many great applicants which made the decision very tough when it came to selecting the successful 16.
“The positions that have been filled cover a range of roles, from customer assistants to cash office, stock control and bakers – so some very skilled roles for people who are brand new to the company.
“Although our Express stores are small in size, the job roles and responsibilities are huge with massive learning potential.
“It’s great that the roles are so popular and we’re grateful for so many people applying. Tesco is a great company to work for and I believe that our city centre location, opposite the stadium and under student accommodation, is a factor in so many people applying.”
> I think it might have something to do with how desperate things really are, rather than Tesco being a great place to work.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the unemployment rate in the North East has dropped to 7.7%. The rate, for the period November to January, compares to 9.1% for the previous quarter.
The number of jobless people has fallen to 99,000, from 118,000, while the figure for those in work has gone up 11,000 to 1,188,000.
However the North East still has the highest unemployment rate in the country, compared to an 5.6% average in England.
The British Retail Consortium says the sector has always been popular with those looking for work.
Tom Ironside, director of business and regulation, added:
“Retail is a leading employer offering numerous benefits to those with a range of skills. Three million people work in the retail industry and it has always been popular with jobseekers.”
The new Tesco Express will be launched with the presentation of £500 to The People’s Kitchen, a charity which helps to provide food and clothing to homeless people.
Mr Anderson said:
“We are delighted to be able to support The People’s Kitchen, as they do such wonderful work for the local community.
> Perhaps Tesco will be supplying them – fo free – with all the out-of-date but still perfectly edible stuff they’ll otherwise bin.
Or perhaps not…
“We are really pleased that they will be coming to launch the new store and join in the celebrations with us.
“My new team and I are looking forward to offering shoppers a clean bright and spacious new store with fast and friendly service.”
The shop will open seven days a week, from 6am until 12am, and will offer a free cash machine, self-service tills, Click & Collect, mobile phone top-up facilities, a National Lottery counter, as well as Costa Coffee and Krispy Kreme facilities.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 08 Apr 2015
More than one in five households in the North are entirely unemployed, new figures have revealed.
According to the Office for National Statistics, 21.2% of homes in the region don’t contain any adults who are in work and are therefore classed as workless.
This is the equivalent of 186,000 households, according to the latest figures, which were correct as of the end of last year.
No other English region has a higher rate of workless households than the North East and only Northern Ireland has a higher rate outside of England.
The proportion of homes in the in the region that are considered as workless is usually comparatively high and has actually fallen by 3.2% since 2010.
Just over half of North East households (54.7%) have all adults in employment while in 24.2% some adults are in employment while others are not.
In England as a whole , 15.2% of households contain no employed adults and are therefore classed as workless. This is a drop of 3.1% compared to 2010.
The figure has dropped from just under 3.9 million between October to December 2010 to around 3.3 million in the same quarter last year, figures which have been hailed by the Government.
Ministers said the latest figure was the lowest in a decade, adding that 372,000 fewer children were living in a household where no-one has a job.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said:
“The primary aim of our welfare reforms has been to support everyone who is able to work into jobs.
“To give people the skills as well as the opportunities to be part of the economic recovery. And we’ve seen remarkable success – with an average of 1,000 more people in work for every single day that this Government has been in power. In total, 1.9 million more people with the self-esteem and financial security that a job brings.
> Low pay, short hours or zero hours contracts do not equal financial security, and I would guess they do little to generate self-esteem either.
Not to mention the fact that twice as much is spent on in-work benefits (ie: to boost low wages) than on unemployment.
And the little matter of many of those hard-working families so beloved of politicians having to access food banks in order to survive.
“Today’s figures reveal that the number of workless households has fallen by over 600,000 under this Government.
“Most significantly, there are 272,000 fewer households living in social housing without work, and the proportion in social housing where someone does now work with a breadwinner and a role model, is the highest since records began.
“Behind these figures are countless stories of hard work and determination. By sticking to our long-term economic plan our welfare reforms are transforming the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities.”
> Well, that’s true, at least. But transforming lives for the worse wasn’t really what we had in mind…
Source – Sunday Sun, 29 Mar 2015
A Newcastle constituency is one of the worst in the UK for voters falling off the electoral register.
In the last year more than 9,000 potential voters have dropped off the list in Newcastle East, with only Cardiff Central and Liverpool Riverside having worse figures.
A spokesman for the BiteTheBallot campaign group which is fighting to get more people on the electoral register before the May general election said the figure was “an absolute disgrace”.
The controversial switch from household to individual electoral registration has caused a great deal of problems for local authorities whose electoral registration officers are continuing to run into problems with their electoral management software systems.
“The number of people on the register has dropped yet the Government and the Electoral Commission don’t have a plan to deal with this and it’s extremely worrying,” said the BiteTheBallot spokesman.
It was revealed last week that local authorities had been given an extra £20m in a bid to solve this.
However the spokesman was dismissive of the move, saying it would be spent mostly on sending out letters.
He said: “It’s about getting people into the community to engage with them and get them interested in politics and registering for the vote.”
The spokesman revealed the group has a Community Engagement Officer, Megan Patterson, who is working with Durham County Council and visiting local schools, sixth form colleges and youth clubs.
“She is doing stellar work in getting people registered. It’s labour intensive but it works.”
According to the Office for National Statistics there were 58,557 people registered to vote in Newcastle East as of December 2014.
This is an 13.8% decrease on the 67,945 people who were registered to vote in the constituency on December 1, 2013, the third biggest decrease for any of the 591 parliamentary constituencies in England Wales and Northern Ireland.
The ONS estimates there are 84,394 people aged 18 and above living in Newcastle East which means that only 69.4% of the potentially eligible voting population is in fact registered to vote.
However this percentage is likely to be higher as the population estimates also include people who are not eligible to vote such as those born overseas.
Ironically not far behind Newcastle in numbers falling off the electoral register is City of Durham where the BiteTheBallot community engagement officer is working.
It has seen an 11.5% drop in the year from 73,036 to 64,614.
Across the whole of Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham there was a fall of 3.8% in the number of people registered to vote with declines in all but one constituency.
Source – Sunday Sun, 01 Mar 2015
A total of 28,000 North East workers are on zero hour contracts for their main job.
The figure amounts to 2.3%, or one in 43, of the region’s workforce. However campaigners say it could be much higher.
According to the Office for National Statistics, nationally the number stands at 697,000 which represents a 100,000 leap in the past 12 months.
And because workers often have more than one job, the number of employment contracts offering no minimum hours rose from 1.4m to 1.8m in that time.
The ONS said the near 30% UK increase might not be as a result of a surge in zero hours contracts being offered but due more to increasing recognition of the contracts by staff when asked by researchers about their employment terms.
Neil Foster, policy and campaigns officer for the Northern TUC, said:
“When we’ve been campaigning on quality employment issues we find that a lot of people who are on a zero hour contract aren’t even aware that they are on them.
“Work from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has indicated the number of people with no guaranteed hours could be several times higher than others have traditionally picked up.
“Zero hours contracts are not defined in law and while this might be problematic for the statisticians they prove even more of a headache for the workers employed through this form of work.”
The ONS figures revealed people on “zero-hours contracts” are more likely to be women, in full-time education or working part-time.
More than 34% of people on “zero-hours contracts” are aged 16 to 24, a figure in the North East that looks set to rise.
And 34% of people on them want more hours though, according to the ONS, this could be linked to a higher proportion of “zero-hours contract” jobs being part-time.
Some of Britain’s largest employers offer zero-hours contracts including JD Wetherspoon, Burger King, McDonald’s and Sports Direct owned by Newcastle United’s billionaire boss Mike Ashley.
Even Buckingham Palace has offered the contracts to staff working in the summer when the Queen’s main residence is open to the public.
Mr Foster added:
“Many people on these contracts need and want more hours and greater certainty but instead find themselves at the beck and call of employers and in quite a vulnerable situation.
“Working people need to be able to look forward to the future and a real economic recovery relies on greater confidence – but zero hours contracts simply don’t provide that.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 25 Feb 2015
Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics show that suicide rates, which had fallen consistently since 1981, have been climbing since 2007 and are now at their highest in over a decade. It is primarily male suicides which have increased.
The figures for 2013 give a total of 6,233 deaths by suicide, 252 more than in 2012.
Suicide rates appear to be highest in areas of high unemployment, with the North-East having the highest rate and London the lowest.
Older males are now the most at risk, with 45-59 year olds having the highest rate.
The link between benefits issues and increased suicide risk is being highlighted by charities such as Mind.
Speaking to the Guardian, Tom Pollard, policy and campaigns manager at Mind, said:
“Pressurising people by threatening to stop their benefits causes a great deal of financial problems and emotional distress, with some people attempting to take their own lives as a result.”
“While the right type of employment can be beneficial to wellbeing, the support offered to those on mandatory back-to-work schemes such as the Work Programme is far too generic to effectively help people with mental health problems move towards employment. We need to see an overhaul of the system with more tailored specialised support and less focus on sanctioning.”
Source – Benefits & Work, 19 Feb 2015
> DWP must have eased up on the sanctions targets.
Unemployment on Teesside has risen for the first time in ten months.
In January, 16,525 people in the area claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) compared with 16,177 the previous month, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The 2.15% increase follows a fall in each of the previous nine months, with all five local authority areas seeing a rise in the number of people out of work last month.
Below the headline figures, the statistics showed some encouraging trends including a 2.3% dip in the number of people out of work for more than 12 months – classed as the long-term unemployed. Youth employment remained broadly flat, although in Redcar & Cleveland there was a small fall in the number of 18-24 year-olds out of work.
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 18 Feb 2015