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Millions struggling to make ends meet isn’t a recovery, it’s desperation

Economy in recovery positionFrom the constant hurrahs about the brilliant success of government employment policy (official figures now say there are 30.39m in ‘employment’), you would never guess that unemployment has hardly shifted under this government – it’s down from 2.5m to just 2.4m. Previously when real recoveries took hold, the unemployment figures fell by 100,000 a month, not by that number over 3 years. We have been so brainwashed into thinking that unemployment at 2.5 million is somehow normal or the ‘natural’ level that we don’t realise that this is only true of the present market-free-for-all capitalism since 1980. And that in the era of managed capitalism from 1948-73 the rate of UK unemployment never exceeded 2% and in some years in the 1960s was as low as 0.5%!

We are also regaled with the brilliant achievement of the private sector in creating 1.2m jobs, but we are not told that it is also true that two-thirds of these jobs are either self-employment (not a new race of entrepreneurs as the Treasury likes to pretend, but desperately trying to make ends meet by locally promoting a particular skill) or short-term, low paid or subject to zero hours contracts. And to cap it all, despite this supposed increase, the workforce is still producing less than it did 6 years ago.

It is also very strange that as unemployment falls (‘dropped like a stone’ according to the Tory press), resort to food banks (which the same Tory press never mentions except to vilify them) has shot up by more than 160%. It is also curious that as GDP collapsed by 7% since the 2008-9 crash – the biggest fall for 100 years – the employment rate allegedly fell by only 2% rather than double or triple that rate which might have been expected. Whether there has been manipulation of the figures, which the Tories are adept at, has yet to be proved. But it is certainly true (though has never been officially revealed) that a million people on unemployment benefit (at the almost impossibly low rate to live on, £71 a week) have been sanctioned in the last year, lose all their benefit and if they don’t continue to sign on they drop out of the unemployment figures as though they were now in a job.

There are some other bizarre aspects to this ‘recovery’. It has certainly not been brought about by austerity, as Osborne likes to pretend, but rather by stealth increases in public expenditure – most notably Help to Buy, but also the ending of the fuel duty escalator, the easing of alcohol taxes, and subsidised energy investment. Business investment, the key to real recovery, is still absent – and not for lack of funding; the big companies are still sitting on cash stockpiles of more than £600 billions. And the imbalance between UK imports and exports, another real key to recovery, is still disastrously bad. Al in all, don’t believe what the Tories put on the tin, just look at the facts.

Image credit: Adapted by Left Futures from stylephotographs / 123RF Stock Photo


  1. Mark1957 says:

    It’s all well and good publishing such articles on leftwing blogs Michael, but who is telling the mass of voters these things?

    Until we get the message out, most people know something is wrong, they just can’t pin it down.

    The press is determined to muddy the waters and keep people looking in another direction, so how do the majority know what is actually happening?

  2. jeffrey davies says:

    bugger brains dead sorry but has above you has mps haven’t done the job ones surposed to do protect those who need it but week in week out rtu ids has claimed more lies more disguarded figures so out ragous that now it seems the norm lying daily while those who least expect it get sanctioned yes sanctioned by this man ways how in alls holy can one be sanctioned for stupid reasons they give
    We are also regaled with the brilliant achievement of the private sector in creating 1.2m jobs, but we are not told that it is also true that two-thirds of these jobs are either self-employment (not a new race of entrepreneurs as the Treasury likes to pretend, but desperately trying to make ends meet
    right we now now there are loads stacking shelves for their mates companies yet are still being classed has working when still claiming many many many are they
    but self employed they pushed so many into this and they will pay heavily for it with this lot even thou they survived through the year at the end of their tax year if not enough hours worked then they going to be worst off by paying back all these payments they had ouch there is going to be many who pay this price tories have damaged the working people so much its going to take another party with foresight to get us out of this mire caused by greed not the poor jeff3

  3. PoundInYourPocket says:

    Interesting to look at the graph of “Unemployment” and of “JSA Claimants”

    In 1993 these two figures were identical but have diverged over the years such that now there are 2.2 milliion people classed as “Unemployed” and actively seeking work and 1.2 million claiming JSA. Presumably this shows the effect of benefit sanctions as 1 million people are “Unemployed” (and actively seeking work) but not able to claim JSA.

  4. Rod says:

    Mark1957: “Until we get the message out”

    What chance of getting the message out via Michael’s Labour Party?

    Labour supports austerity. Labour has promised to be “tougher on benefits than the Tories.”

    Labour supports public sector pay freeze.

    Labour opposes nationalisation of failing private sector rail franchises.

    Sadly, Michael’s presence in Labour party assists with the implementation of Progress policies. He lends credibility to the mistaken perception that somehow Labour is an alternative to the Tories.

    1. Mark1957 says:

      Okay, so let’s give up and put the Tories back in…

  5. swatantra says:

    Its tough out here, unless you’re a millionaire and property owner or an MP. Sensible people with savings aren’t getting much interest. Those with credit are forced to go to money lenders just to stay afloat. situation will continue whichever Party wins, for the forseeable future. Labour might ameliorate the pain just a tiny bit, but there’s no guarantee of it.

  6. Robert says:

    yep so vote labour beaus they might or then again they might not.

    1. Mark1957 says:

      Well we know exactly what the Tories will do…

    2. PoundInYourPocket says:

      Without PR it’s a binary choice. Take your pick Cameron or Ed ?

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