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Hi IDS, how would you get a job with 76 jobseekers per vacancy?

Iain Duncan Smith of happy notoriety has told us he could live on £71 JSA if he had to for a week (or for a month or for 6 months as many jobseekers have to endure?). I don’t believe that for a second, and he wouldn’t dare trying to do it. He’s also told us everyone should get a job and stop whingeing.

So how would he get a job in Salford, Hull, Rochdale and the Wirral where last month 76 unemployed persons were applying for every vacancy? It’s easy enough in Cambridge, Guildford, Winchester and Reading since 9 out of 10 easiest areas to find a job are found in southern England. Perhaps he’s never looked around northern England before he fires his peashooter giving us the benefit of his advice.

The elementary observation which seems to have escaped IDS is that what pushes up unemployment is not shirkers or skivers refusing to take jobs, but the sheer lack of vacancies in areas of low economic activity and poor growth prospects. Almost half (46%) of all UK job vacancies were in London and south-east England last month. The comparable figure last month in the north-east was just 3.3% and in Wales 1.7%.

The real fault here lies with the Tories’ crass economic policy squeezing the economy ever harder in the interests of a deficit-reduction programme which isn’t even working. The fault lies with the abandonment of a full employment policy with all the investment required to launch and maintain it. And the fault lies too with the exacerbation of the regional divide through cosseting the City of London and neglecting manufacturing.

This policy of punishing people for living in the north in areas of high unemployment is made even worse by the wicked cruelty of cutting or removing benefits even from severely disabled persons who would be hard put to it to get an employer to take them on even in conditions of near-full employment. Those who were previously on Incapacity Benefit are now being assessed at the rate of 11,000 a week, often in cursory interviews without consulting the person’s GP, and then declared able to work.

As if that were not enough, an ATOS manager turned whistleblower has now testified that often when he came up with the ‘wrong’ assessment, he was told to amend his report (i.e. declare them fit for work). In other words, severely disabled persons who could not possibly get work even at the best of times are being told they’re fit for work in areas where the number of vacancies is pitifully small, where they have several able-bodied competitors, and where government policy has overwhelmingly driven jobs south.

Come on, IDS, show us how it’s done by getting on yer bike, riding north perhaps with a disabling injury incurred on the way, and then try getting a job. And if you can’t, stop victimising the jobless and disabled – and get a new Chancellor who believes in job creation, not job destruction.

One Comment

  1. terry sullivan says:

    keep counting your houses mr meacher

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