Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Unemployment today is over two million

Unemployment figures released today show that more than 1.92 million people were out of work by the end of November 2008. This figure is the highest since the year Labour came to power in 1997.

John McDonnell MP, LEAP Chair, said:

"On this basis, unemployment today is over two million. This is a depression not just a recession, and the Government's measures have failed to protect people and preserve their jobs.

"A lack of planning and radical action makes it almost inevitable that unemployment will hit 3 million with the consequent human suffering."


Graham Turner, author of The Credit Crunch and LEAP economist, said:

"The remorseless rise in unemployment continues and looks set to accelerate sharply in 2009. In addition to the job cuts, workers are seeing their pay squeezed. Average earnings growth slowed again in November to 2.7% y/y, the lowest increase since February 2003, and well below the headline inflation rate of 4.1% for that month. Real earnings continued to fall".

"And the recession continues to take its toll on the public sector finances, with the current budget deficit rising from £25.9bn in the year to November, to £33.3bn in the year to December. The rate of deterioration in the deficit number is accelerating."


Andrew Fisher, LEAP Co-ordinator, said:

"Every week tens of thousands of people are being thrown out of work due to a crisis not of their making. The Government's response to threaten more sanctions against lone parents, the disabled and the unemployed is heartless when billions are being passed to bankers.

"The current level of Jobseeker's Allowance - £60 per week or £3,000 per year - is a national disgrace. LEAP is backing the TUC campaign to raise JSA by £15 per week".


-Ends-

Both John McDonnell and Andrew Fisher were signatories to a letter in today's Guardian, signed by a range of trade union leaders and welfare campaigning groups calling for a rise in JSA of at least £15.
UPDATE: Labour MP Lynne Jones has tabled EDM 543 'TUC Campaign to increase Jobseeker's Allowance' based on the Guardian letter. Please lobby your MP to sign.

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