Tagged: West Midlands

Thousands could lose benefits in Government plan to end youth unemployment

Thousands of unemployed young people across the North East could be stripped of benefits under tough plans in the Government’s Queen’s Speech.

David Cameron insisted the crackdown was designed to end youth unemployment, as he set out his plans in the House of Commons.

But Labour MPs said the plans effectively meant young people would be forced to work for as little as less than £2 an hour – payment far below the minimum wage.

The North East has the highest youth unemployment rate in England.

Office figures show 21.4 per cent of young people aged 18 to 24 are unemployed.

The figures cover people who are “economically active”, which means they are in a job or looking for work. Full-time students are not included.

This is a higher proportion than in any other part of England. It’s also higher than Scotland or Wales, and roughly equal to the Northern Ireland figure of 21.8 per cent.

By contrast, the unemployment rate for people aged 18 to 24 in the south east is 11.4 per cent. And in the West Midlands, it is 16.1 per cent.

Official figures also show that 4,000 people in the North East aged 18 to 24 have been claiming Jobseekers Allowance for six months or longer.

But under Government plans, anyone aged 21 or under will lose the right to this benefit – and be put on a new “youth allowance” instead.

They’ll get the same amount of money as before, up to £57.90 a week, but if they are unemployed for six months then they will be given compulsory community work such as making meals for the elderly or working for local charities – and they’ll lose the right to claim benefits if they refuse.

If they will have to work 30 hours a week as expected, that would be a payment of £1.93 for each hour worked, well below the minimum wage of £5.13 for people age 18 to 20 and £6.50 for those older.

 

The Government says it plans to prepare young people for work and will create 200,000 new apprenticeships in the North East.

And Conservatives point out that the number of people aged 18 to 24 in the North East actually in work has risen by 13,000 over the past year.

David Cameron told the House of Commons: “One of the most important things we can do is give young people the chance of an apprenticeship and the chance of work.

“What we have done is expand apprenticeships and uncapped university places, so that there is no cap on aspiration in our country.

“We now want to go further by saying that every young person should be either earning or learning.

“Leaving school, signing on, getting unemployment benefit, getting housing benefit and opting for a life out of work—that is no choice at all, and that is why we will legislate accordingly.”

And Conservative MP Guy Opperman, MP for Hexham, said:

“This Bill will provide assistance to young people to earn and learn, and give them the skills which they need to have a long term future in employment.

“We need to address the skills gap and using apprenticeships will really make a difference to do that.”

Labour Gateshead MP Ian Mearns said:

“If young people are expected to work in order to get benefits then they should be entitled to the minimum wage.

“To tell them to work for £2 an hour is ridiculous. We have legislation which says there is a minimum wage in this country and that should be the minimum level people can expect.”

Conservatives will face a battle over plans to stop people aged 18 to 21 claiming housing benefit – with Labour MPs and other critics warning it will put young people who are forced to leave home because of abuse in danger.

Source –  Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 30 May 2015

North East family incomes lags behind most of UK

Family  incomes are on the rise in most of the region, official figures show – but at a slower pace than in most of the country.

Household disposable income per head crept up by just 0.8 per cent in the North-East between 2012 and 2013, below the one per cent rise across the United Kingdom.

And the North-East was left in the slow lane by both Scotland (up two per cent) and the West Midlands (up 2.3 per cent) as the economy bounced back, as well as by Yorkshire (up 1.4 per cent).

But households in London and the South-East (both up 0.6 per cent) saw incomes grow more slowly – even though overall growth was far higher than in the North-East in both areas.

The statistics also reveal striking local variations in the changes in gross disposable household income (GDHI), the amount available for spending or saving after taxes and benefits.

Incomes grew sharply in Darlington (3.5 per cent) and South Teesside (2.6 per cent) and were also up in North Yorkshire (two per cent) and Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees (1.9 per cent).

But growth was more sluggish in County Durham (1.3 per cent) – and fell markedly in both Sunderland (3.1 per cent) and York (3.3 per cent).

 And disposable incomes in the North-East are as little as one-third of those in the plushest parts of London, where the figures surged ahead between 2012 and 2013.

In Westminster, the average GDHI was £42,221 in 2013 – almost three times the figure of £14,659 in County Durham and the highest of 173 local areas analysed.

And incomes in Kensington and Chelsea/Hammersmith and Fulham (£42,116), Camden and City of London (£37,324) and Wandsworth (£35,237) were not far behind.

Matt Whittaker, chief economist at the Resolution Foundation think-tank, said:

“Regional inequalities have fallen since the crash, but the gap between the South East and the UK is stark.”

Experts believe disposal income – the amount people have to spend after the bills have been paid – is the best measure of the economic confidence of families and individuals.

The rising figures in most areas were thought to reflect low interest rates and low inflation offsetting disappointing wage rises, perhaps helping to return David Cameron to No.10 earlier this month.
Source – Northern Echo, 28 May 2015

4.7 Million People Cannot Afford To Keep The Lights On

Nearly five million people in fuel poverty cannot afford to keep the lights on and pay energy bills, according to new research published today. 

Research by the Debt Advice Charity found that 4.7 million people across the UK are frequently cut off from their electricity supply, because they cannot afford to top-up pre-paid electricity meters.

Pre-paid meters are usually more expensive than other payment options, but fuel poor households say they rely on them to better manage energy costs.

Around 25% of families across the UK rely on pre-paid meters to help pay energy bills, with one in ten saying they are in arrears with gas, water or electricity.

18% of households questioned by the Debt Advice Charity said their gas supply is cut off on average every few months, while 7% were left without gas at least once per week.

Around 6% of respondents said they were regularly left without electricity at least once a week.

Households in the West Midlands and East Midlands have the highest rates of fuel poverty, with 63% of those in the East Midlands struggling to afford to top-up pre-paid meters.

Fuel poverty is defined as households who spend more than 10% of the overall income on fuel and energy costs.

A Debt Advice Charity spokesperson said:

“To see this level of fuel poverty in the UK is very worrying. Heating, lighting and hot water are basic necessities that everyone should have access to, yet there are many vulnerable households who are forced to go without.

“We would like to see more help given to households in danger of losing their energy supply.

“I would advise anyone whose energy is at risk of being cut-off to speak to their supplier as soon as possible to ask for help, and also, to contact the Home Heat Helpline for free advice on getting out of fuel poverty.

“The Debt Advisory Centre would also like to see those customers who are able to demonstrate that they can pay energy bills to be taken off pre-paid meters and put on to cheaper deals.”

Energy giant Npower recently announced the creation of a fuel voucher scheme for families struggling with energy costs. Dubbed “fuel banks” by critics, vouchers will be made available through Trussell Trust food banks.

The scheme is open to all families struggling with energy costs and not just Npower customers or pre-paid meter users.

Source –  Welfare Weekly, 12 May 2015

http://www.welfareweekly.com/4-7-million-people-cannot-afford-to-keep-the-lights-on/

North East senators would represent region as Labour plans to axe House of Lords

Labour leader Ed Miliband has announced plans to scrap the House of Lords as it currently exists and replace it with an elected “Senate” – with members representing the regions of England as well as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Every region will be guaranteed a fair share of representation in the new senate, Mr Miliband said.

A paper by researchers in the House of Lords itself warned that the North East was under-represented.

The study, published earlier this year, found there were 21 peers whose main place of residence was the North East, compared with 152 who lived in London, 114 who lived in the South East and 63 who lived in the South West.

House of Lords reform has been a difficult issue for both Labour and the Conservative Party since the majority of hereditary peers were removed in 1999. There has been widespread agreement that further changes are needed, but little agreement on what those changes should be.

Under Mr Miliband’s plan, senators will represent large regions and nations to ensure they to not step on the toes of MPs, who will continue to represent constituencies.

A Labour government would hold a constitutional convention to debate precisely what powers the new senate should have and how senators should be elected.

However, proposals published today suggest some form of proportional representation would be used.

The convention will also consider whether there should be rules to ensure potential senators can only stand for election in a region they have lived or worked in for a number of years.

Labour says the proposals complement plans announced yesterday to devolve power to regions, including a proposed English Regional Cabinet Committee which would be chaired by the Prime Minister, and attended by the relevant Secretaries of State and leaders from the major English cities and county regions.

A Labour government would also introduce new laws to ensure councils can seize control of bus services without fear of a legal challenge, giving them a role setting fares and timetable similar to the one played by the Greater London Authority in the capital.

And Labour would also pass an English Devolution Act, enshrining in law new powers for local councils and combined authorities to manage funding for transport and housing, further education and support for employers, as well as giving them a formal role in commissioning health and social care.

Speaking at Labour’s North-West Regional Conference in Blackpool on Saturday, Mr Miliband said:

“I am announcing plans to give the regions and nations greater power and a stronger voice in Westminster too.

“When people say that they are turned off from politics and that it doesn’t represent them, we have to do something about it.”

He added:

“London is our capital and one of the world’s great cities but it cannot be right London has more members of the House of Lords than the East Midlands, West Midlands, Wales, Northern Ireland, the North East and Yorkshire and Humber added together.

“We will make the second chamber of Parliament truly a Senate of the Regions and Nations of our whole country.”

Tories are pushing their own plans to devolve power, with Chancellor George Osborne urging regions to create powerful mayors.

Source –  Newcastle Journal, 02 Nov 2014

Rickets Returns As Poor Families Find Healthy Diets Unaffordable

This article  was written by Tracy McVeigh, for The Observer on Saturday 30th August 2014

Poverty is forcing people to have dangerously poor diets and is leading to the return of rickets and gout – diseases of the Victorian age that affect bones and joints – according the UK Faculty of Public Health.

The public health professionals’ body will call for a national food policy, including a sugar tax, as concerns rise over malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies in British children. It will also appeal for all political parties to back a living wage to help combat the illnesses.

Doctors and hospitals are seeing a rise in children suffering from ailments caused by poor diet and the faculty has linked the trend to people’s inability to afford quality food. Latest figures show there has been a 19% increase in people hospitalised in England and Wales for malnutrition over the past 12 months but experts say this is only the extreme end.

Dr John Middleton, from the FPH, said the calls would come in the faculty’s manifesto to be published next month and warned that ill-health arising from poor diets was worsening throughout Britain “through extreme poverty and the use of food banks”.

He saidthat obesity remained the biggest problem of food poverty as families are forced into choosing cheap, processed high fat foods just to survive.

It’s getting worse because people can’t afford good quality food,” he said.

“Malnutrition, rickets and other manifestations of extreme poor diet are becoming apparent. GPs are reporting rickets anecdotally in Manchester, the East End of London, Birmingham and the West Midlands. It is a condition we believed should have died out.

“The vitamin deficiency states of gout, malnutrition being seen in hospital admission statistics are extreme manifestations of specific dietary deficiencies or excesses, but they are markers of a national diet which is poor. Food prices up 12%, fuel prices up double-figure percentages and wages down is a toxic combination, forcing more people to eat unhealthily.”

He said many policy makers forgot the impact of rising energy prices on diet.

“That is the bit people dont really appreciate – a processed meal from a supermarket will need less feeding the meter as of course will a fast food take out. Poor people are having to pay out more of their income on food compared to the better off. There are difficult choices for people on low income.”

Carmel McConnell, founder of the Magic Breakfast charity, which provides a free breakfast to 8,500 British schoolchildren in need each morning, said teachers in the schools she worked in expected to see a dramatic decline in the health of their pupils as they return after the holidays:

“Teachers tell us they know even with free school meals it will take two to three weeks to get their kids back up to the weight they were at the end of the last school term because their families cannot afford the food during the holidays.”

McConnell and Middleton both welcome the Nick Clegg-led intiative to start universal free school meals in schools for younger children, although critics are claiming that schools, already facing a dire shortage of places, may find it difficult to accommodate when the scheme is rolled out later this week.

The UK has 3.8 million children in extreme poverty. Charities such as the Trussell Trust report growing need for food banks but say that some of the items donated can be of poor quality.

Dr Middleton said:

“If the nutritional diseases are markers of a poor diet, the food banks are markers of extreme poverty – the evidence from Trussell Trust suggests the biggest group of users are hard working poor families who have lost benefits, live on low and declining wages and or they have fallen foul of draconian benefits sanctions which propel them into acute poverty and hunger. This is a disastrous and damning indictment on current welfare policy and a shame on the nation. The food banks are providing a real and valued service staving off actual hunger – they are actually keeping people alive.”

Source – Welfare News Service,  30 Aug 2014

http://welfarenewsservice.com/rickets-returns-poor-families-find-healthy-diets-unaffordable/

Unemployment Still Higher Than Pre-Recession Levels, Warns TUC

Trade Union Congress (TUC) Media Release:

Unemployment rates and levels of joblessness are higher today than before the recession in every region and nation of the UK and across all working age groups – suggesting that the economy is still less healthy than it was before the recession, the TUC warns today (Monday) ahead of the publication of the latest jobs figures later this week.

 The TUC analysis of official figures shows that half a million more people were unemployed in January-March 2014 (the latest available figures), compared to January-March 2008. Yorkshire and Humberside has the biggest jobs gap, with almost 100,000 more unemployed people today than before the recession.

Northern Ireland has the biggest gap between its current and pre-recession unemployment rates. Across Northern Ireland unemployment is currently running at 6.9 per cent, 68 per higher today than six years ago, when it was 4.1 per cent. The unemployment rates in Scotland and Yorkshire and the Humber are 50 per cent higher today than before the recession.

The biggest unemployment gap by age group is among young people, with the number of unemployed 16-24 year olds 167,000 higher than six years ago. In the West Midlands for example, there are currently 20,000 more young people out of work than there were six years ago.

In most parts of the UK the jobs gaps for young people are higher than for any other age group. Unemployment levels are only lower now than six years ago amongst 16-24 year olds in the East Midlands and 35-49 year olds in Wales.

Much of the debate around unemployment has been about the rate falling below seven per cent – the trigger set by the Bank of England for possible interest rate rises. However, with over two million people still out of work – half a million higher than before the recession – and many more under-employed it remains far too early for the Bank of England to be considering an interest rate rise, says the TUC.

The number of unemployed people across the UK is still far in excess of pre-recession levels, in spite of the recent upturn in the jobs market, says the TUC. While the size of the economy is likely to return to pre-recession levels soon, unemployment levels are recovering much more slowly and the analysis shows that more needs to be done to get people back into work.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The recent upturn in the economy has prompted lots of speculation about an increase in interest rates. Those hawks that are keen for interest rates to rise have forgotten that unemployment is still over two million.

“In some parts of the UK, unemployment is 50 per cent higher than it was before the recession. The talk in the City and around Westminster may be about a fast growing economy but the recovery still feels a good way off for millions of people still desperate for work across the rest of the country.

“The government should be doing more to get unemployment down in every part of the UK. High levels of youth joblessness are particularly concerning. The growing talk of an interest rise is a worrying distraction from this far bigger economic and social problem.”

 Source: www.tuc.org.uk

Source – Welfare News Service, 14 July 2014

http://welfarenewsservice.com/unemployment-still-higher-pre-recession-levels-warns-tuc/

Job Creation 20% Below Pre-Recession Levels, New Report Shows

Trade Union Congress (TUC) Press Release:

Inner London is the only area of the country to have a higher rate of job starts than before the recession, while job creation in some parts of the country is down 31 per cent on pre-recession levels, according to a new TUC report published today (Monday).

The TUC Touchstone pamphlet Equitable Full Employment: A Jobs Recovery For All (pdf) shows that the recent rise in employment is being driven by fewer people leaving their jobs, rather than more people finding new work.

Job starts – the number of people starting a new job within a three month period – are currently around 20 per cent below pre-recession levels across the UK, and are still falling in parts of the country. The fact that fewer people are leaving their jobs helps to explain why the employment rate for older workers is increasing so much faster than for young people, says the TUC.

The report, written for the TUC by Tony Wilson and Paul Bivand of the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion (Inclusion), compares job start rates before the recession, at the height of the crash and during the recent recovery. It finds that metropolitan areas such as London, Birmingham and Tyne and Wear are recovering faster than their neighbouring rural areas.

Inner London is the only area of the country where jobs are being created at a faster rate than before the crash. Outer London, the South East and Eastern England have recovered since the crash but job starts are still 11 per cent, 16 per cent and 21 per cent below pre-recession levels.

Job creation across the rest of the country is more mixed, says the TUC. Job creation in Tyne and Wear is recovering (though still 11 per cent below pre-recession levels) but getting worse across the rest of the North East.

> In fact, as a whole, North East unemployment continues to rise…

Job creation in the West Midlands metropolitan area is recovering but the rest of the region continues to decline (down 31 per cent), while South and West Yorkshire are both performing far better than the rest of Yorkshire and Humberside. Job starts in Greater Manchester have fallen slightly since the height of the crash but the city is still doing far better than Merseyside and the rest of the North West, where job starts are 30 per cent down on pre-recession levels.

Strathclyde is the only major metropolitan area that is performing worse than its neighbouring area, with job creation across the rest of Scotland recovering faster.

The report shows while the UK’s employment rate is rising, there are huge swathes of the country – particularly rural areas – where job creation remains depressed and is getting worse, say the TUC.

The report also looks at job starts across different age groups, qualification levels and types of work. It finds that while job creation rates for graduates are back above pre-recession levels, the number of people with lower-level qualifications starting new jobs declined during the boom and has continued to deteriorate since the crash.

The proportion of jobs starts to non-permanent work is now higher than it was before the crash, with three in ten job starts in temporary work. Fixed-term contacts are the most popular form of temporary work.

The continuing shift from permanent employee jobs to self-employment and temporary work, such as fixed-term contacts and agency work, suggests the nature of the UK jobs market is changing permanently, rather than being a short-term response to the recession, says the TUC.

> The final victory of Thatcherism – smash the unions and the rest can be exploited…

The rate of people moving from unemployment to work is still lower than pre-recession levels across all age groups, say the report. ‘Hiring rates’ have recovered fastest for older workers, but they remain far less likely to move from unemployment to work than any other age group.

Hiring rates for 16-24 year olds, who traditionally have moved from unemployment into work at a far quicker rate than all other age groups, have declined considerably over the last 17 years. People in their late 20s and early 30s are now finding work as quickly as younger people, says the report.

The report makes a number of recommendations to boost job creation and raise employment levels further, including:

• Offering targeted employment support programmes, such as a job guarantee for any young person out of work for at least six months.
• Identifying low skills as a reason to provide more intensive employment support.
• Establishing bodies in each industrial sector so that government, unions and employers can work together to identify skills gaps, promote decent workplace standards and fair pay.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Many people assume that rising employment levels are simply down to more people getting new work. In fact, the recent recovery in our jobs market is mainly due to people holding onto their jobs, rather than finding new ones. This is great news if you want to keep earning as you approach retirement, but less positive if you’re trying to take your first step on the career ladder.

“Job creation is as important for people looking for work as it is for those already in work and looking to boost their incomes. It’s worrying that across huge swathes of the country – and particularly in rural areas – job creation levels remain depressed and that where jobs are being created far more are temporary positions than before the crash.

“We need to see far more high-quality jobs being created, not just in our cities but across the UK, if we’re going to achieve full employment and a return to healthy pay rises.”

CESI Associate Director Paul Bivand said:

“What we are concerned about is inclusion, which isn’t just our name. Growth in employment should help to close gaps in our society. We don’t want a rising tide to lift just the most buoyant, while leaving others behind. We want all areas and groups to benefit and we need to close gaps.

“We are already hearing that there is a risk of the Bank taking action because of overheating high-end London house prices. For the economy to benefit all, then rises in jobs have to occur in the rural areas as well as the cities, and Glasgow and Merseyside as well as the South East.”

 

Source: Inner London is only area of UK to have returned to pre-recession levels of job creation

 

Source – Welfare News Service, 23 June 2014

http://welfarenewsservice.com/job-creation-20-pre-recession-levels-new-report-shows/

Concern over rising unemployment figures in the North East

Fears that the region was “out of sight and out of mind” for the Government have been voiced after the latest jobless figures revealed the only place in the UK where unemployment was going up was the North East.

The overall national rate has dropped to 6.6% in the three months to April, the lowest since January 2009, causing Chancellor George Osborne to hail the news as an important step towards the goal of full employment, while Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: “Britain is bouncing back.”

Yet the figures they were celebrating, published by the Office for National Statistics, revealed unemployment in the North East had risen 6,000 to 131,000 from February to April, putting the jobless rate here at 9.8%, again the highest in the UK and by some distance.

Chi Onwurah, Labour’s Newcastle Central MP, said: “They are talking like it’s mission complete but the fact is the North East is still seeing unemployment on the rise.

“It shows that the North East is out of sight and out of mind of this Coalition Government.”

The next lowest figures in the UK are Yorkshire and Humber with 8.2% and the West Midlands with 7.5%. Even Wales, which has suffered economically like the North East because of the collapse of traditional industries like mining, boasts an unemployment rate of 6.6%, the same as the national average.

And while the Government highlighted the news that the number of people in employment in the region had gone up 15,000 from February to April to 1,206,000, there was bad news on the wages front too.

The ONS figures showed the average salary of those in work in the North East has fallen 7.3% year-on-year with women particularly hardest hit with a 10.7% drop. Meanwhile the current CPI rate of inflation is 1.8%.

Mark Stephenson of the North East Chamber of Commerce concentrated on the rise in employment rates in the region and the fall in the claimant count.

He said: “It’s great to see North East employment estimates rising at the fastest rate in the UK for the second consecutive month. Hopefully we are starting to see a trend develop that will see our region make ground on other parts of the UK that experienced these rises earlier in the economic recovery.”

However he added: “The long term measures for employment and the claimant count are positive signs, albeit the total number of unemployed in the North East remains high – especially at the younger end of the labour market. The challenge isn’t abating and casts a shadow over the positive figures we see elsewhere.”

> Bloody hell – where does he buy his rose-tinted glasses ?

Source –  Newcastle Journal,  12 June 2014

Nearly a quarter of North East workers paid below ‘living wage’

Almost a quarter of workers in the North East aren’t paid enough to live on, a  new study reveals.

The report by the Living Wage Commission says that the employment market is “polarising” with high paid and low paid jobs both increasing – while the number of middle income jobs shrinks.

But workers on lower salaries have suffered, seeing their wages fall in real terms since 2005, the report says, while the cost of necessities such as food and fuel have shot up much faster than the official rate of inflation, leaving many working people struggling to make ends meet.

The grim warning was presented by the Living Wage Commission, an independent body chaired by Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, and backed by the TUC, chambers of commerce and voluntary groups.

It is campaigning for every worker to be paid the “living wage”, a sum calculated to be the minimum needed to ensure a basic but acceptable standard of living. The 2014 rate is £7.65, or £8.80 in London.

In a new report called Working for Poverty, the Commission said there were 221,000 workers in the North East earning less than the living wage, or 23% of those in work.

This is the same proportion as in the North West and West Midlands, while the figure for Yorkshire and Humber is slightly higher at 24%.

But by contrast, just 18% of South East workers earn below the living wage, and the figure in London is 17% even though the living wage is higher.

Newcastle City Council was the first local authority in the country to introduce a living wage, ensuring no staff were paid below the sum, and others, such as Northumberland, have followed suit. Labour leader Ed Miliband backs the living wage while leading Conservative supporters of the policy include Hexham MP Guy Opperman.

But Dr Sentamu said more employers should adopt the policy, and he argued that paying higher wages would save the Treasury money because it would cut the benefits bill.

He said: “For the first time, the majority of people in poverty are actually in paid employment. The nature of poverty in Britain is changing. The idea of ‘making work pay’ increasingly sounds like an empty slogan to the millions of people who are hard-pressed and working hard, often in two or three jobs, and struggling to make a living.

“Meanwhile, the whole of the UK picks up the bill in tax credits, in-work benefits and decreased demand in the economy.”

Dr Sentamu added: “We know that not every employer could afford to implement a living wage right now. Yet we also know there are definitely employers that are able to pay a living wage but choose not to.”

The jobs where you are most likely to be paid below the living wage are barman or waiter. According to the report, 85% of people in these roles are underpaid.

Other jobs with a high proportion of workers below the living wage include catering assistant, vehicle cleaner, dry cleaning assistant, shop assistant, cleaner, hairdresser and florist.

Nationwide, 27% of female employees nationwide are paid below the living wage, compared to 16 per cent of men.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Low pay is blighting the prospects of millions of workers, and we need urgent action to tackle the low-pay problem.”

Source – Newcastle Journal  11 Feb 2014

Suprise ! North East missing out on jobs despite economic recovery

The North East is missing out on jobs despite the economic recovery, union bosses said today.

The Trades Union Congress said the region was one of four where the likelihood of being in work has fallen since 2010 despite the recent upturn in business.

Union officials say jobseekers in the region have not benefited from better trading conditions in other parts of the country.

The other areas affected are the North West, the West Midlands, and the South East while all other regions have shown a better jobs market.

Figures released this morning by the TUC and based on information from the Office for National Statistics Labour Force Survey said the North East had an employment rate of 67.3% last year. The figure compares to 67.9% in 2010 – a drop of 0.6%.

The reduction compares to increases in most areas including Yorkshire at 2.4% and London at 1.6%.

Neil Foster, Northern TUC Policy and Campaigns Officer, said the figures showed inconsistency across the regions.

He said: “This study shows that under the previous Labour government the North East was catching up with the rest of the country before the global financial crash hit hard in 2008.

> From personal experience, there’s some truth in that – I got more work between 2000 and 2008 than in all the preceeding decade – all short-term work admittedly (longest 7 months, shortest 3 months) but there was at least an anticipation of things improving. Then it all went pear-shaped again…

“However under the Coalition we have gone into reverse and we’re now seeing the bulk of new jobs created in the south so it’s even harder to find work in the North East.

> As noted in another post recently, a survey of all online jobs reported in Financial Times last Summer showed that London and the South East  accounted for 46 per cent of UK vacancies, compared with just 3.3 per cent in the North East.

Of that 3.3%, many are part-time, temporary, zero-hour contracts or commission-based non-jobs – not much good for us unreasonable people who want, or at least need,  full-time, permanent work

“The Northern TUC warned Coalition ministers in 2010 that this could happen if they dismantled Regional Development Agencies with the significant powers, budget and support they possessed.

“Going forward, we need a devolved industrial strategy that gives our region the tools to build a real recovery that can draw on our significant strengths and benefit people in need of work here.”

TUC General secretary Frances O’Grady said the figures were part of a survey looking at employment in the regions over 20 years.

She said: “Despite the return of growth the chance of having a job has actually fallen in much of England since 2010.

“Whilst it’s great that jobs are created in London and the South East, stronger job creation is needed throughout the country.”

> Government policy :  fund those areas likely to return Tory candidates in the next election. The rest  can rot.

It’s not even a new policy – the Thatcher government actually considered cutting city’s like Liverpool adrift to sink or…well, sink probably.

The figures were released ahead of new jobless statistics this week.

Source – Newcastle Journal, 20 Jan 2014