Unemployment at 7.7 per cent – food banks facing huge demand


UK jobless officially fell to 2.49m in the latest government figures, for the three months to August, showing a slight fall of 18,000, not enough to make more than a one decimal point difference in the unemployment rate from the previous quarter.

The unemployment rate ‘fell’ to 7.7%, down from 7.8%.

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance last month fell by 41,700 to 1.35 million, a result of the government’s policy of driving the unemployed off the Allowance, depriving them of benefit for not seeking non-existent jobs with as much enthusiasm as the government expects.

The ONS also reported that average earnings rose by 0.7% in the year to August, 0.5% down on July, and well below the CPI inflation rate of 2.7%.

In other words, the cost of living is soaring away, slashing wages on a weekly basis, while the wages for millions are literally frozen, and declining in value by the minute.

The number of people in work, both full-time and part-time, reached a record high of 29.87 million in the quarter, up 155,000 with mainly part-time or zero-hours contract workers.

ONS figures show that almost 1.5 million people are working part-time because they could not find full-time jobs, the highest figure since records began in 1992.

The figures also show that 8.95 million people aged 16-64 are not looking for or are not available for work, while over one million pensioners are now working.

Youth unemployment remains just below the one-million mark, with 958,000 unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds, down by 1,000 over the quarter.

Young people, as they leave school in the future, are to be further penalised by being deprived of all benefits including housing benefit if they are not in work, or education. They are to become outcasts from society at the age of 16.

The number of people unemployed for more than a year fell by a minute 15,000 to 900,000.

However, those without work for between six months to a year rose by 29,000 to 446,000.

In a number of the regions unemployment rose, and did not fall.

In London unemployment rose 4,000 to 372,000 (8.6%).

North West unemployment rose 24,000 to 294,000 (8.6%).

In the East Midlands, unemployment rose 1,000 to 177,000 (7.7%).

The Institute of Directors’ chief economist, Graeme Leach, said: ‘Today’s labour market figures are not surprising. Just as employment losses during the recession were lower than expected, so too are employment gains with recovery. This isn’t a jobless recovery but it is a job-lite one.’

The truth is that this is not a recovery at all, since the vast majority of the people are seeing their living standards pushed back to what they were 40 or more years ago, while youth are being told that they have to get used to the notion that they will be much worse off than their parents.

This reality of modern capitalism cannot be called a society that is in recovery. It is in rapid decline and disintegration; it is in its death throes.

record numbers of people are being fed by food banks. The Trussell Trust food bank charity said yesterday that it has fed 110,000 people since April, compared with a total of 128,697 in the whole of 2011-12.

It said it expects to feed more than 200,000 people in 2012-13. This is no soup kitchen, it is a semi-state body. To receive emergency food, people must be referred by a frontline care professional such as a doctor, social worker, Jobcentre Plus or schools liaison officer.

Meanwhile, the Trust for London charity said the number of jobs paying below the so-called ‘London living wage’ of £8.30 per hour had risen by 100,000 to 580,000 between 2010 and 2011.

Society is being driven backwards by the crisis of capitalism. It can only be moved forward by a socialist revolution that puts an end to capitalism and brings in a socialist soceity.