Thursday, August 30, 2007

Time to Act

It comes as a bit of a shock, that London, the greatest city in the world, has nearly a quarter of homes, 23.9 per cent, where none of those living there admitted to having employment or an earned income.

But should we really be surprised? The analysis from the Office for National Statistics apparently shows that In the North-East, 19.4 per cent of homes, nearly one in five, are reckoned workless and in North-West the figure is 18.2 per cent.

Overall, the trends in the employment and unemployment rates appear to be falling, which is good. There has been a further national fall in the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance benefit. In Thanet, down this month, the good news is 2,331 registered unemployed (down 116); the official figure (ONS)is roughly comparable with more deprived parts of London but overall, this still gives a national figure of three million adults or one in five of the population in households in which nobody works for a living, despite the £billions thrown at different employment schemes and incentives over the last decade.

And the problem, linked in part to social breakdown, appears to be steadily worsening, with tens of thousands of service jobs that once used to go to one group, now visibly going to better qualified and often more enthusiastic new arrivals from the European Union. This week, I could see this at Butlins in Skegness and the effect is starkly visible in every fast food, cafe, restaurant, hotel and service sector job in London. The desparately under-employed are steadily becoming the unemployable and when does the real pain start to appear for both the economy and broader society in subsidising the welfare bill at a time when we can't even afford decent equipment for our armed forces?

Gordon Brown's 'honeymoon' will be over soon and Tony Blair must be laughing all the way to his publisher's office, as all the really big problems of the economy, housing and a dysfunctional society start to place our new Prime Minister under pressure to find real practical solutions instead of political slogans.


Little Weed said...

Statistics again - how many of that percentage were in receipt of a pension and had done their work for the nation

DrMoores said...

My understanding is that those in receipt of a pension are not included but you are right, you can drown in the statistics and forget too that they represent real people!

Anonymous said...

I believe the stats you quote.

I remember in 84 doing the Rediffusion aerial systems contract (putting cable TV over to local aerial systems) in Ashford, Canterbury and Deal.

We were doing signal distribution on flats. And we were astonished even back then at tower blocks of council tenants with no economically active person in residence .....

I did a door entry system contract for Cardiff City Council in about 1994 Bute Town (Tiger Bay)and the same there. Plenty of residents who knew to "Remember you're Somali" (In spite of being in a community with a history of 100 years residence in Wales) ... but we did not perceive any evidence of employment.

To access the communal meter cupboards for the blocks of flats we first had to shovel them clear of waste. rotting fruit, meat etc.

The Cardiff City refuse lorry each week was routinely accompanied by a gulley sucker. the dustmen shovelled refuse from the pavement into the their truck and then the gulley sucker cleared the drains from the blockage rainwashed in from the street deposited household waste.

I remember that a city electrician signed our work off as to a high standard but for meter cupboards left a tad untidy. Welsh Butetown public servant humour apparently

On the ground floor of the largest tower block there were council offices ... local (with a variety of translation services available) for the convenience of the residents.

you can see how unreasonable you are Simon ... expecting Thanet residents to get by without local one stop service council offices.

And now to stats. Four patrolling coppers (patrolling the borders of Butetown) told us that we were working on the statistically safest streets in Britain. IE Where the Police do not go.

The copper told us "No one would dare mug anyone in there butty ... they would be mugged themselves on the way home."

This Britain.

Anonymous said...

I can remember twenty years ago working on the local potato fields where gangs of locals, including many from gypsy camps would gather in the crops. It always amused me when the benefits people turned up and they would scurry off in every direction!

Much of this work has disappeared as the process is more mechanised. However, local fruit farmers still rely on cheap labour. Going back twenty years or so much of the labour was provided by people "fiddling" the dole.

Nowadays the labourers appear to be mainly from Eastern Europe so what has happened to all the others? Have they found gainful employment? If the economy has grown then presumably more jobs are available and many hopefully are gainfully employed. The reality though is likely to be more people with nothing to do.

If the mortgage meltdown in the US does lead to a lack of confidence here I think we could face a tricky time. The public sector has become outrageously bloated under Labour and there are many people existing in non jobs that produce nothing of value.

No one in government, or out of it wants to grasp the nettle and start hacking away at this, and tackling the real problem the Welfare State. This I feel is a luxury which will become increasingly expensive and unaffordable. The longer it is postponed the more painful it will be when inevitably we have to do something about it. We have a country where it seems a decreasing minority support an ever increasing majority.

Anonymous said...

The job opportunities in Thanet are limited because we have the sea in a 290 degree arc around us and go west is the main option. As a parent, I was concerned that my youngsters would all have to leave Thanet but they are all in gainful employment locally and are self supporting and 3 have managed to save and buy modest homes in the past2 years. They work hard to support their young families. I think it crazy that we have a social system that keeps 2,331 people in long term unemployment yet we have had a huge influx of immigrant workers in employment around Thanet and East Kent. The Poor Laws in Victorian times, depressed agricultural wages in particular because farmers knew that the 'Parish' support would allow them to pay their workers less. One could argue that the present system of credits enables employers to do the same today and perhaps a proportion of our 2,331 registered unemployed are actually better off by not working. As soon as you allow, as this Government has, a huge wave of immigrant workers to join the labour force, wages will be kept depressed and the bottom end of our society has to compete with them for employment. It does keep the rate of inflation down but means the tax-payers have to support a growing number of indiginous unemployed and unemployable.

Anonymous said...

The answer is to STOP all of those families where both parents are out of work from claiming benefit for both adults. Also, Disability and Carers allowances need to be seriously looked at.I know of several people claiming both who have done so for very flimsy reasons.