Letter: Recovery delivers few permanent jobs

Sir: In his article "The feel-bad faction" (Another View, 11 April), Howard Davies, director-general of the CBI, responds to the TUC report Britain Divided, which deals with the labour market recovery in Britain since 1992. However, his article seems to be addressing a rather different report to the one we actually published. Perhaps he would have benefited if a report of what the TUC said in the first place had appeared in your newspaper.

The CBI response makes the common mistake of mixing-up part-time and temporary employment growth. Many of the part-time jobs are permanent, while many of the temporary jobs (and self-employment) are full time.

For that reason the TUC report had nothing to say about the balance between part-time and full-time work. The report was concerned that the recovery had delivered very few permanent jobs, with nearly 90 per cent of net job growth in the past year in non-permanent forms of employment, such as temporary and self-employment. A recent report from the CBI itself (Flexible Labour Markets) points out that temporary workers are far less likely to be trained, and some may find themselves being deskilled and "caught in a cycle of deprivation".

The TUC report was very clear that there is a strong and well-advanced recovery at national level. However, this has not yet translated into net increases in employment in many regions.

The CBI takes exception to our suggestion that a public investment programme targeted on high unemployment areas might help. I had understood up to now that the CBI was in favour of higher public investment in the infrastructure, but I am willing to be corrected on this point.

Yours sincerely,


General Secretary,TUC

London, WC1