TRADE unions slammed the government’s mass sackings and cuts to services as being directly responsible for the shocking unemployment figures released yesterday.
These showed that unemployment has soared in the three months to June by 38,000 to a total of 2.49 million across the UK.
The numbers on JobSeekers Allowance also rose by 37,000 in July to 1.56 million the biggest increase since May 2009. This is despite the feverish efforts of the government to drive people off of benefit.
Unison commented: ‘The Government’s economic strategy is in tatters. They need to stop the cuts.’
The PCS union said: ‘The government’s austerity measures are strangling the economy.’
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘The chancellor’s plans for job creation are woefully inadequate.’
Unite said that ‘Osborne’s disastrous economic policies will put Britain in a coma’.
The GMB stated: ‘The squandering of human talent through unemployment is a crime that will haunt future generations.’
None of the union leaders called for action to remove the coalition.
Joshua Ogunleye, National Secretary of the Young Socialists said: ‘This proves the case for an immediate general strike to bring down the Tory coalition.
‘Only Socialism can provide jobs for youth.
‘That is why we are calling on all workers, students and youth to join the YS lobby of the TUC on Tuesday September 12 to demand action for jobs for youth!’
The official figures reveal the following startling facts. They show that between April and June:
• Youth unemployment rate rose to 20.2%, up from 20% in the quarter to March
• There were 949,000 16 to 24-year-olds without work, a rise of 15,000
• The number of unemployed men increased by 18,000 to 1.45 million
• The level of unemployed women rose by 21,000 to 1.05 million – the highest figure since May 1988
• The number of employees working part-time because they could not find a full-time job increased by 83,000 to 1.26 million – the highest figure since comparable records began in 1992
• The unemployment rate remains the highest in the north-east of England, where it now stands at 10%
• The south-east of England still has the lowest rate of unemployment, with the rate now 5.8%
• The unemployment rate in Scotland is 7.7%, in Wales it is 8.4%, and in Northern Ireland it is 7.3%
• Average weekly earnings, including bonuses, are 2.6% higher than a year ago
Labour Shadow employment minister, Stephen Timms, said that the new figure shows that the ‘economy has flatlined’.
He added: ‘A big rise in unemployment, a big rise in the number of people receiving benefit and now the largest number of women unemployed for 23 years . . . we’re just not seeing the jobs being created that we need.’
The Tory coalition Chancellor George Osborne had to admit that the unemployment figures were ‘disappointing’.
Dave Prentis, general secretary of the public service trade union Unison said: ‘This is 38,000 more families forced onto the dole queues and struggling to survive in the face of rising costs.’
Highlighting the crisis facing youth he added: ‘Young people getting their A Level results tomorrow face a bleak future.
‘There will be many who had dreamed of going to university, but are priced out by the hike in tuition fees. They will be joining those people struggling to find work.
‘Requests to Unison for support with bankruptcy have soared by 78% – because of members or their partners losing their jobs.’
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘Wednesday’s rise in unemployment points to a worrying deterioration in the UK labour market. And with our so-called “recovery” stagnating, all the indicators point to further rises in joblessness.
‘It is also worrying to see the unwelcome return of rising youth unemployment, with more than one in five young people currently out of work.’
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: ‘When unemployment is so high and the claimant count continues to rise it is more important than ever that public servants in jobcentres are given adequate resources to get people back to work.
‘The government must remove the threat of jobcentre closures and tackle the mass unemployment that risks doing long-term damage to our economy.’
Paul Kenny GMB General Secretary said: ‘GMB experience is that the position on the ground is getting worse.
‘With government getting rid of tens of thousands of public sector jobs and with the private sector either stalling or going backwards the outlook in many areas is very worrying bordering on bleak.’
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: ‘As the cuts continue to bite things can only get worse. Women are being especially hard hit with unemployment reaching record levels not seen since the Tories were last in power.’