'Collapse' in new jobs, warns union

The number of new jobs becoming available has "collapsed" in recent years, falling by over half in some areas, a leading union claimed today.

Research for Unison showed there were 16,300 vacancies in Scotland last year compared with 41,600 in 2007, while in the East Midlands the figure fell from 63,470 to 31,360.

The union said the study came ahead of heavy job losses expected in the public sector as a result of the Government's spending cuts.

The report, published ahead of new unemployment figures tomorrow, said there had been a "shocking collapse" in new jobs over the past three years, which Unison said exposed a "fundamental flaw" in the Government's economic strategy.

Dave Prentis, Unison's general secretary, said: "There is serious trouble ahead. George Osborne and David Cameron's economic strategy is a sham.

"The Tories are relying heavily on private sector jobs growth to fuel the recovery, but this analysis proves there has been a shocking collapse in the number of jobs available, spelling real danger for our economy.

"There's more misery on the horizon for the jobs market, with more heavy job losses hitting the public sector, and cuts set to poison the private sector too. Thousands of companies dependent on public contracts and on consumer spending are suffering.

"An alternative economic agenda, built on fair taxation, could protect our public services and jobs at the same time as safeguarding our recovery."

Unemployment increased to 2.5 million at the end of last year after a 35,000 jump in the quarter to October, a jobless rate of 7.9%.

Local authority employers have warned of 140,000 council job losses because of Government spending cuts, which have not yet fed through to the official unemployment figures.

Unions following the steady flow of job loss announcements at councils across the country fear the figure will be much higher.