A million jobs lost in five years, says TUC

 

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The Independent Online

Almost a million jobs have been lost since 2007 in sectors such as manufacturing, retail, hotels and restaurants, which traditionally appeal to young people, according to a new study.

Research by the TUC found that finance and business services were the only areas with bigger workforces than before the recession.

Jobs that account for over half of youth employment have suffered the biggest losses, with those in manufacturing falling by 14% over the four years to end of 2011, a cut of over 400,000 posts, said the TUC.

Over 280,000 construction jobs were lost as well as 220,000 in retail, hotels and restaurants.

In contrast, employment in finance and business services, grew by almost 100,000.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "The manufacturing sector experienced heavy job losses during the recession and has failed to recover during the UK's admittedly weak recovery.

"While the retail and construction sectors have gained jobs in the last 12 months, they are still a long way off their pre-recession health.

"A recovery in retail, hotels and restaurants is particularly important for young people as this is where they are most likely to find work. Unfortunately, these jobs are heavily dependent on people's disposable incomes, and falling wages are forcing people to rein in their spending.

"The UK economy desperately needs more jobs and the return of decent pay rises. Our hopes of a sustainable economic recovery depend on this.

"Ministers can start by introducing a guarantee of paid work or training for every young person who has been out of work for six months or more, as well as a new youth credit to boost access to training, work placements or progression into better jobs."

Meanwhile, a minister accused the previous Labour government of "hiding" the true scale of youth unemployment and said the coalition was making changes to make jobless figures more "honest".

Employment Minister Chris Grayling also warned that the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance (JSA) is likely to increase in the coming months as people switch from other benefits because of the coalition's welfare reforms.

Speaking before new unemployment figures are released on Wednesday, Mr Grayling said that at any one time up to 40,000 young people were on a training scheme under Labour so did not show up on claimant count figures, even though they were still unemployed.

Around 1.3 million people were on a training allowance scheme under Labour so they "disappeared" from the jobless register, added Mr Grayling.

Under the coalition's work programme, no one disappears from the system because they continue to receive jobseeker's allowance, said the minister, adding: "What you see is what you get. That was not the case under the New Deal (Labour's employment programme)."

Mr Grayling said that because people no longer automatically leave jobseeker's allowance when they start a work programme, the number of long-term claimants, especially young people, had "inevitably" risen.

"We're giving a true picture rather than an artificial one."

Unemployment increased by 28,000 to 2.67 million between November and January, last month's figures showed, with 1.6 million claiming jobseeker's allowance.

Ian Austin, Labour's Shadow Work and Pensions Minister, said: "The reason young people are no longer on training allowances is because the Tories have scrapped the employment and training schemes which put them on these allowances.

"That the Government are choosing to blame the statistics rather than do something about the problem just goes to show how out of touch and complacent they are.

"Labour would tax bankers' bonuses and use the money to introduce a Real Jobs Guarantee for all young people out of work for over a year - real jobs with real wages, which the young person would have to take up."

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "This Government is doing everything it can at every level to help young people into meaningful and sustainable work. It is working with business small and large to develop the help and programmes that we believe will help young people across the country.

"We have created the £1 billion Youth Contract that will give young people the chance to get into new jobs or training. It will create 250,000 work experience places and 160,000 wage incentives worth £2,275, making it easier for businesses to take that chance on employing young people.

"The Youth Contract also provides 20,000 incentive payments for small businesses to take on their first apprentice.

"Alongside this we are giving young people the chance to take a first step on to the careers ladder through our work experience programme with big and local companies.

"Underpinning this is the Work Programme which means that young people will get the skills they and employers need so they can make an immediate impact in the labour market."

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "This Government is doing everything it can at every level to help young people into meaningful and sustainable work. It is working with business small and large to develop the help and programmes that we believe will help young people across the country.

"We have created the £1 billion Youth Contract that will give young people the chance to get into new jobs or training. It will create 250,000 work experience places and 160,000 wage incentives worth £2,275, making it easier for businesses to take that chance on employing young people.

"The Youth Contract also provides 20,000 incentive payments for small businesses to take on their first apprentice.

"Alongside this we are giving young people the chance to take a first step on to the careers ladder through our work experience programme with big and local companies.

"Underpinning this is the Work Programme which means that young people will get the skills they and employers need so they can make an immediate impact in the labour market."

PA

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