Theresa May tweeted this week that “The employment rate is the highest since records began in 1971” and added that the government was delivering “a stronger fairer economy that works for everyone”
There are many factors to consider before we fall for more fudged figures from the Tories...
In work Poverty
The Tories party ethos; “Work is the best route out of poverty” is nothing but a bad taste left in the mouths of millions of working people all over Britain.
The reality is there has always been some level of poverty but what we are experiencing in Britain today is something very different. The most shocking statistic is that 60% of people in poverty today, are in fact employed. Shamefully, over the last 10 years under Tory rule, we have seen an explosion of zero hour contracts, short term contracts and poor quality jobs coupled with low pay.
In stark contrast to Theresa May and Tory claims that people can somehow work themselves out of poverty, the number of people falling into poverty is actually rising faster than employment.
Misrepresenting full time figures
Unbelievably, working one hour per week counts as being full time “employed” according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Almost half a million people working less than 6 hours/week fall into this category. This has the effect of further distorting data already plumped up by natural population growth. By reclassifying 40 people working one hour per week as 40 full time jobs the Tories are more than massaging the figures.
Similarly, the way of calculating self employment has also been altered. ONS figures put the number of self employed people in the UK at 1 million more than in 2010. This is irrespective of whether or not this self employment delivers a livable wage, minimum hours or whether tax credits are being claimed to supplement low incomes.
The advantage of compiling the above statistics for Tory propaganda purposes is obvious.
But even taking the government’s bogus figures at face value they still don’t add up when compared to qualitative employment data.
Of those who are working full time, many more people are working longer hours for less money.
The rebranding of the minimum wage as the “national living wage” by Tory spin doctors ignores a dramatic rise in house prices, rents, food, goods and services since 2010. Crucially the poverty pay rates also ignore the evidence based advice of the Living Wage Foundation who put the living wage at £9 outside central London and £10.10 in the city.
The Kids Aren’t Alright
Teachers across Britain are reporting unprecedented levels of hardship. Kids are coming to school with holes in the shoes, tired and hungry.
Four million children now live in poverty in the UK and two thirds of them live in working households. Such is the scale of malnourishment that some GPs have resorted to prescribing nutritional drinks for hungry patients.
More and more people are dependent on benefits even though in full time employment as it is impossible to make ends meet. And the situation for those unable to work is grim.
Universal credit a flagship policy of conscious cruelty that has cost more than it was designed to save, is starving those who need it. Universal Credit is £3 billion less generous that the system it replaces. Food bank use in areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out is 4 times higher than in other areas according to the Trussell Trust.
The evidence is clear - Britain is Broken, We Can’t Afford the Tories
Can you help?
The People's Assembly is a grassroots organisation which is supported by many trade unions, campaigns and local networks, as well as many individuals. But we need your help. It costs money to organise events, meetings, demonstrations and campaigns. Unlike those who are enforcing austerity, we do not have wealthy businessmen backers. We rely on donations from our supporters. Over the past few months we have organised or supported campaigns over the NHS, closure of libraries, housing and in support of trade union rights. We held a demonstration in early January calling for a general election.
We need to step up our campaigning and help give a voice to those trying to stop library closures, end Universal Credit, defend the NHS and provide a better future for our children.