Rise in jobless

by Caroline Colebrook

THE NUMBER of people in Britain who are out of work and seeking work rose by 25,000 between April and June according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The jobless total also rose in the three months to May — the first time in two that the figures have risen for two consecutive months.

These figures also hide the hundreds of thousands of people in part-time jobs who desperately need a full-time wage to make ends meet and many, especially women, who want a job but have been forced to give up looking by unaffordable childcare costs and low wages.

It also hides the growing thousands on zero-hours contracts who do not know from one week to another how many hours they will be called on to work or how much pay they will get — and who are deprived of their human rights to sickness and holiday pay.

The biggest fall has been in the number of full-time employed men and young people: unemployment for 18-to-24-year-olds has risen 12,000 to 591,000 (14.3 per cent).

The giant union Unite said the new figures reveal fragile nature of the so-called economic recovery, particularly outside London and the south east.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “For the first time in two years there have been two consecutive monthly rises in the jobless figures. This is the first crack in the edifice of post-election Tory economic triumphalism.

“Outside London and the south east, the benefits of the so-called recovery are not being felt. There is a real issue that most of the jobs being created are in the lower paid sectors and there is a proliferation of those working as self-employed, when they want full-time and permanent jobs.

“Fragility and insecurity in the jobs market are the hallmarks of George Osborne’s economic programme. There is a real fear that the jobs market is levelling off with little in the way of ideas on the creation of decent jobs coming from this government.”

At the same time Britain’s trade deficit has widened and production levels have fallen.

Britain’s trade deficit almost doubled in June to £1.6 billion, from £885 million the previous month, the ONS said.

The main reason for the drop was a fall in demand from the Eurozone. This is related to the trade sanctions imposed against Russia, falsely accused of being behind the unrest in Ukraine, which really results from United States and EU interventions in backing a fascist coup in Kiev.

Russia has responded with a ban on imports from the EU, which has left a huge food surplus throughout Europe that cannot find a market, farmers facing bankruptcy and falling food prices. This result has at least been beneficial to the victims of austerity throughout Europe.

Industrial output in Britain fell 0.4 per cent in June following a drop in oil, gas and mining production, according to ONS figures. The ONS blamed part of the fall on maintenance in a major oil field.

UK manufacturers have struggled this year due to weak demand from Europe, a high pound and sluggish investment but they did manage a small increase in manufacturing output. Despite the return to growth in June, the chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, David Kern, described the manufacturing sector’s overall performance as “mediocre”.

“Year-on-year growth is below one per cent and the level of manufacturing output is still almost five per cent below its pre-recession peak in the first quarter of 2008.”

Chris Williamson, chief economist at research firm Markit, agreed that despite the rise in manufacturing output in June the outlook remained subdued. “The much-vaunted UK manufacturing revival remains a distant policymakers’ dream rather than a reality and the UK economy remains clearly reliant on the service sector as its primary source of growth.”

Meanwhile Government debt now stands at £1.36 trillion, nearly three times as much as it was at the height of the banking crisis in 2008, when it was £0.53 trillion. In 2008 that was equivalent to about 40 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Today’s dent figure is about 80 per cent of our current GDP.

It all adds up to a dismal picture, showing that the Government’s drastic austerity packages and cuts have increased human misery in Britain and also increased Government debt.

They are running this country into the ground for the benefit of the one per cent filthy rich while the rest of us are condemned to increasing poverty and deprivation with no end in sight except the end of this Government.