In a serious gaffe today, Conservative Chancellor Philip Hammond claimed, ‘there are no unemployed people’, and had the audacity to ask, ‘where are all these unemployed people’, in an interview with Andrew Marr.
News, that will come as a shock to the 1.6 million unemployed people in the UK.
The Conservative party often rely on the employment statistics to prop-up their economic credibility. Whilst job creation has been improving since the financial crash, the picture is far less rosy than Hammond would like you to believe.
Fiddling the figures
The headline figure for the employment rate is now a record high at 75.1%. However, there’s a somewhat confusing and contradictory change in employment in the most recent figures.
59,000 fewer people were no longer classed as unemployed in the latest employment figures, yet the number of people in work also dropped by 14,000 – what’s happening here? Source: BBC/ONS
In a typical Tory fashion, they have tinkered around with employment and unemployment definitions to fluff the numbers. Under the current system:
People who work 1 hour a week are classed as ‘employed’.
People who are placed into government-backed training schemes, or workfare (read: free labour in low-cost supermarkets), are also classed as ‘employed’. After 6-months of being on jobseekers’ allowance, you are forcefully placed into these schemes.
People who have had their benefits sanctioned, are not classed as ‘unemployed’ anymore.
Source – ONS
Dramatic increase in insecure work
The Tories constantly repeat their achievement of creating over 3 million jobs in the UK, since the financial crisis. However, a dramatic increase in insecure work has been behind a large portion of the Tory jobs miracle. The graph below using ONS figures, taken from the Guardian, shows nearly 1 million people are stuck in zero-hours contracts. Now close to an 800,000 increase in zero-hours jobs, that’s close to a third of the 3 million created by the Tories.
Next is the number of jobs created that are part-time, until the most recent period, a significant majority of the jobs being created. Between 2015 – 2016, there were ~300,000 more people in work (ONS).
58,000 were full-time
86,000 were part-time
133,000 were self-employed people.
32,000 were unpaid family workers
Clearly the increased in self-employed people has had a huge effect on boosting employment figures, delusional Hammond would like us to believe that’s because Britain has experienced and entrepreneurial boom. In reality, many people are being forced into self-employment doing odd-jobs to survive, figures that coincide with the rise in food bank usage.
The final nail in the coffin for the Tory jobs myth is the take home pay workers are receiving. Unlike many of our European counterparts, real wages have plummeted, in fact they have dropped the most since records began. Last year it was recorded that real wages dropped 10.4% in the UK, only rivalled by Greece, a posterchild for promoting Tory austerity.
Between fiddling the figures, a dramatic rise in insecure work, and a record breaking decrease in real wages, it’s no wonder workers across the UK are fed up with this government. When will they stop lying?