Recently, we have heard much of the possible Lloyds TSB/HBOS job losses of up to 40,000 as well as the shedding of 4,500 Lehman Brothers jobs in the City. However, what about elsewhere? What is going on to the local economies – where most of us live – in terms of unemployment and worklessness?
Nationally, we know from the Office of National Statistics that:
The unemployment rate was 5.5 per cent for the three months to July 2008, up 0.2 over both the previous quarter and over the year. The number of unemployed people increased by 81,000 over the quarter and by 72,000 over the year, to reach 1.72 million.
But Labour has presided over an increase of unemployment in the entrepreneurial city of Birmingham again (this is of personal interest to me as I worked there for over three years). The birthplace of the industrial revolution is suffering from Brownian economic policy with an unemployment rate of 9.2%.
Source: ONS (2008)
The ONS report also finds that economic inactivity in Birmingham is a staggering 30.7% much higher than the UK’s corresponding 21.6% rate.
Even more of an indictment for Labour – which is supposed to be the party of ethnic minorities – is that in Birmingham the employment rate for non-white adults is only 50.6% (63.1% for the whole population) and their economic inactivity rate is 41.9% (compared to 30.7% overall).
So if you’re black or Pakistani and living in Birmingham – or anywhere else in the UK – you can blame Labour for your economic situation.
And no matter what colour, gender or age you are, if you live in Birmingham, you’re much more likely to be out of work than if you live in many other parts of the country.
The next Government needs to sort this mess out and get people, whatever their ‘demographics’ or background, back into work.
In 1997 Labour said it would eradicate child poverty. It set some targets and has failed to make significant progress on this matter.
But what is more galling, in this New Labour world, is the way that older people are treated, neglected and ignored by the Government. At least children have rights to education, and other services … what rights to older people have in this country? (unless they have been prudent – yes, that former Brownian word – enough to save for ‘a rainy day’).
As Help the Aged remind us, ageism and age discrimination is still prevalent in this country – for example, on the NHS, if you are “too old”, you can be refused treatment, and granted a death sentence (even though Capital Punishment was abolished); that is, if they don’t do you in with morphine first. Social care is being cut back by many councils as a result of the Brownian mess that is the public finances. The Help the Aged video is sadly true:
But what is a national scandal is the increase in pensioner poverty, a direct result of this Government’s policies. Barbara Willis-Brown, writing in the Stirrer, highlights how:
Here in Birmingham, we have too many pensioners living in isolation; struggling to survive on a limited income, with prices rocketing around them.
Their cars have gone, so transport and mobility are key issues; many live in fear, locking themselves away as soon as daylight fades; they cannot afford to socialise (cost, transports, perception, fear); rising costs of social care & diminishing services add pressures to the already hard-pressed.
At a time in life when they need the most help, they find there is precious little available.
Traditionally, there has long been a history of voluntary sector community support, organising trips, outings, hospital visits, befrienders etc.
Yet, due to withdrawal of funding, (Olympics 2012 springs to mind) local support groups have been hammered, as projects simply close down. So, the biggest losers continue to be the elderly – who are also the least able to cope.
As a matter of utmost urgency the government must consider the impact of all these rises on the older population.
The choice between eating and heating the home has been highlighted by Channel 4’s Dispatches already and this holocaust on older people was discussed on this blog. The Government’s inaction on the matter of pension poverty is not only immoral, but also politically inept. Since the highest turnout at General Elections is amongst over 60s, older people will have their revenge on this despicable Government.
- Alistair Darling
- animal welfare
- Bank of England buffoons
- Child A
- general election
- Gordon Brown
- gun crime
- intellectual idiocy
- Jacqui Smith
- Labour Party
- Northern Ireland
- older people
- opinion polls
- public sector
- Reg Empty
- Rhys Jones
- Royal Mail
- Shannon Matthews
- social breakdown
- social services