Wednesday, 17 June 2009

LEAP calls for radical policy shift to tackle unemployment

UK Unemployment has risen to 2.26 million today, with the number of people in work down 271,000 in the last month - the highest quarterly decrease since records began.

John McDonnell MP, LEAP Chair, said:

"These shocking figures demonstrate that all the talk of 'green shoots of economic recovery' is absolutely meaningless for the nearly hundred thousand people joining the dole queue every month.

"The onus is now squarely on the shoulders of the Government to act decisively to halt the rising unemploymenbt and offer, particularly the young, real alternatives of meaningful employment and training.

"The Government needs a three-pronged policy response:
  1. Direct intervention in companies and sectors where job losses are moutning, with subsidies to keep people in work in return for a stake in the business;
  2. Stepping up the direct Government investment in Green New Deal infrastructure projects to stimulate new employment;
  3. Guaranteed training and education places based on living wage grant for the unemployed".
The claimant count is now at its highest for 11.5 years - since November 1997 - but it only rose by 39,000 in May, less than expected. This is explained by two factors:
  1. As LEAP has pointed out before, Jobcentre Plus is struggling to process the new claims, and each month the previous month's figures are revised up; and
  2. The increased conditionality in the Jobseeker's Allowance regime means more people are being excluded from claiming
It's also worth reminding people that unemployment benefit is just £64 per week, dropping to £50 if you're under 25.

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