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Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Experts predict bleak outlook for UK jobs in 2011

Government hopes that the private sector will lead an economic recovery were dashed by a leading human resources body today.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) gave a bleak forecast for the economy next year, only expecting a "sustained recovery" in 2013.
"The CIPD forecasts that the coming year will be worse for jobs than 2010, with a small rise in unemployment and a further period of below-inflation pay rises the best that can realistically be expected," said the CIPD report.

In a revealing report about the attitudes of working people in the public and private sector, the institute found that confidence about job prospects remained "low" among workers.
Just 10 per cent of all workers surveyed believed it would be easy or very easy to get a new job if they lost their current job within the next year and only 28 per cent were very or fairly optimistic about their ability to change jobs.

CIPD chief economic adviser John Philpott said: "2011 will be a fingers-crossed year for the economy and jobs.
"Labour market conditions will remain weak in 2012 before starting to recover more robustly in 2013."
The CIPD predicts that the number of people in work will fall by 200,000 in 2011 - 120,000 in the public sector and 80,000 in the private sector.

Unemployment is forecast to rise to 9 per cent, or 2.7 million, while average earnings are expected to increase by a below-inflation 2 per cent.

Communist Party of Britain general secretary Rob Griffiths said: "We are paying the price for decades of speculation. "Capital must be directed into productive industry including transport, house building and sustainable energy. "The free market, if it ever existed, is well and truly dead and government of every colour will have no option but to embrace planning and increasing public control of the economy."

Left Economics Advisory Project co-ordinator Andrew Fisher said: "The CIPD report spells out the inevitable consequences of the coalition government's policies.
"Jobs and wages have been sacrificed to maintain corporate profitability. The only new jobs are temporary and insecure. This squeeze is unsustainable. The cuts will prove self-defeating."

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Solidarity between British Students & Unemployed Claimants

Students & Unemployed Benefit Claimants joined forces in SOLIDARITY - protesting against the rise in tuition fees & cuts in benefits, vowed today to continue their sit-in at a Kent university building until the new year.

The protesters have occupied the University of Kent's Senate building on its Canterbury campus since December 8.

They want the university and its vice-chancellor to publicly condemn the planned fee rises and education cuts, which would see tuition fees increase to as much as £9,000 a year.

Student Alan Bolwell "We are prepared to stay over Christmas, we are prepared to stay over New Year's, we are prepared to stay as long as it takes."

But the university said it is now considering taking legal action to remove the students as it is due to close for the holidays.

A spokesman said: "The university is preparing to close down for Christmas so we're in talks with the students to try and come up with a solution that we all agree on.

"We may have to get a possession order so we can start to use the Senate building for its purpose again but that's very much a last resort."

Some British MPs joined campaigners today in condemning government plans to cut housing benefit.

The MPs warned at a cross-party parliamentary committee today that the cuts would ghettoise residential areas and see homelessness spiral out of control as people struggle to pay their rent.

They called on the government to scrutinise the impact of its proposals to cut housing benefit and be prepared to invest more.

In a money-saving bid the coalition is planning to cut housing benefit by 10 per cent after a year out of work, cap weekly rates at £400 and link payments to the cheapest 30 per cent of properties in an area rather than the average rent.

But the work and pensions committee warned that the cuts would not only cause people to move to cheaper areas but may force some onto the streets if they end up in rent arrears.

In an inquiry into the changes some witnesses told the committee that an increase in evictions and homelessness was "inevitable."

The committee also said ministers were being optimistic in assuming that landlords will cut rents in response to benefit reductions and urged them to come forward with a "more nuanced approach" that recognises the difference between disabled people and single parents from those not looking for work.

British Property Federation representing landlords Ian Fletcher said the reforms posed a "welfare gamble."

Mr Fletcher said: "This report encapsulates the deep concern there is among backbench MPs, landlords and other stakeholders over reforms to the housing benefit system. We are seeing a huge gamble with high stakes for claimants, landlords and the public purse."

He added he is not surprised that even some Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs are critical and "sensed rebellion brewing" unless the government is more transparent about the proposals.

Defend Council Housing chairwoman Eileen Short said: "Homelessness is already rising with the recession causing a record number of repossessions and evictions.

"Now the government's own expert advisers have given hard evidence that its housing benefit policies are disastrous and totally unjust.

"Combined with the government's vicious attacks on social housing, with the threat against security of tenure and rent increases, these cuts amount to a total onslaught on the whole principle of council homes and communities."

Defend Council Housing is organising a mass lobby of parliament on February 15 against the government's social housing policies.

Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said that the report provided yet more evidence of government cuts leading to homelessness as an increasing number of people are unable to afford to stay in their homes.

"Future plans to break the link between housing benefit and the cost of rents will make this situation even worse, leaving large swathes of the country completely unaffordable for claimants," he said.

Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud claimed that the housing benefit reforms will "return fairness to a system that currently sees some claiming over £30,000 a year to live in large houses in expensive areas that ordinary hard-working families cannot afford."

Monday, 6 December 2010

UK Robbed of their futures !

There's little more fascinating than the responses of Tory politicians to uncomfortable truths and the knee-jerk reactions of Employment Minister Chris Grayling are no exception to the rule.

Faced with the dreadful statistic that the number of 16 to 24-year-olds claiming unemployment benefit for more than 12 months has increased fourfold since before the recession, Mr Grayling's knee jerked into overdrive.

And it immediately spun him around so that he was looking backwards.

In true Tory fashion, he launched into an attack on the policies of the last Labour government, saying that, "despite throwing millions of pounds at the problem, the patchwork of ill-conceived and poorly thought out schemes we inherited from the last government failed young people across the country."

What he didn't say was that his government has already demolished, cancelled or shut down nearly all that "patchwork" of schemes.

He didn't even try to explain what these wholesale cancellations would do to help unemployed young people.

Nor did he explain how putting the best part of half a million public-sector workers on the dole was calculated to improve the employment prospects of young people, or how capping the pay of hundreds of thousands more would increase demand and create jobs for school and college leavers to take up.

He explained that his government was developing work experience opportunities so that young people get the skills and experience they need to successfully compete in the labour market. Unfortunately, he didn't then enlighten us as to what jobs these newly experienced youngsters would be competing for.

And he completely forgot to mention that there are already more than five people competing for every available vacancy, even before his government's huge cuts programme has fully taken effect.

"We are already seeing signs," said the purblind Mr Grayling, "that the youth labour market is beginning to recover from the recession."

One wonders what those signs are. Perhaps the Employment Minister has secret skills in reading the entrails of animals or, maybe, he has been retrained in reading crystal balls, because there's certainly no sign of such a turnaround in the real world.

In that real world, which the rest of us inhabit, the truth is more accurately portrayed by TUC general secretary Brendan Barber, who acidly commented that "a million young people lost their jobs in the recession, crucial education and job support schemes have been scrapped and they'll soon be priced out of going to university. It's no wonder young people are angry about being left high and dry by this government."

It would seem that even the normally diplomatic and even-tempered Mr Barber is running out of patience with the headbangers of the Con-Dem coalition - and it's not surprising. Because Mr Grayling, like the rest of his Tory crew, seems incapable of addressing the real problem.

The real problem is that we are in the midst of a recession manufactured by speculators and perpetuated by a government which is diverting cash from public services to bail those same speculators out.

The government is doing it despite the harm that it's doing to society at large and in defiance of all the economic signals, which indicate that the path they are taking leads directly from recession into slump, a depression to rival any in the modern history of capitalism.

Financial collapse is rolling across Europe country by country , fuelled by this multinational bailout, the biggest daylight robbery in the history of the world and, despite protestations to the contrary, this country is no more immune than Greece, Ireland or Portugal.

And the real losers in this robbery are the elderly, who are losing much of their care and security in old age, and the young, who are being robbed of their future.

More than two million children from working households are living in poverty, setting a new record, a report has shown.

The study Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion was published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

It recorded a huge 2.1 million impoverished youngsters living in Britain where their parents or carers have jobs.

In contrast the number of poverty-stricken children living in workless households has dropped to 1.6 million, the lowest number since 1984.

And the research found that the overall number of children living in poverty has fallen to 3.7 million.

The report's co-author Tom MacInnes said that were it not for substantial increases in child benefit and child tax credit in 2008 the number of children in poverty would be around half a million higher.

The figures show that children from working households account for 58 per cent of youngsters living in poverty.

Mr MacInnes said this gave the lie to the idea that work alone was the answer to poverty. "Child poverty in working households must be given the same focus as out-of-work poverty," he said.

We cannot hope to end child poverty when more and more children whose parents are in work find their lives damaged by poverty regardless.

We must demand decisive action from the government and employers to increase the incomes of working families.

Making work pay is the government's rallying cry, but this report shows that for a record 2.1 million working families, work doesn't pay enough to keep them and their children above the bread line.

The danger is that cuts to working tax credit and childcare support will further penalise working families already struggling to make ends meet.