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Unemployment Heading Towards 3 million?

I wrote an article exactly a year ago and following today’s unemployment figures I have no reason to change my views.You can read elsewhere the details of today’s announcement but this is merely a way of keeping a very sad score of the parlous state of the UK economy.

The bad news is that unless we choose to do something individually about our position we will see a continued erosion of our standard of living as inflation at @5% and a weak £ quite suits the politicians as a way of slowly correcting the excesses of yesteryear.

We don’t have a problem with the unemployed but the unemployable as a very high number of those within the 2.57 million unemployed do not have the skills that the limited number of employers looking to recruit want to hire.

We all shoulder some responsibility. We allowed the last government to create a train wreck of our educational system with too high an emphasis on academic qualifications of little practical use as opposed to acquiring solid trade skills. The bloated public sector and weakness in challenging fraud within the benefits system hid the depth of the problem slowly being flushed out today. Our greatest loss is our manufacturing base that has diminished in importance over the last generation and which we will never recover. Overarching European Legislation has paralysed parts of industry and created competitive barriers for our export businesses. We have not asked enough or held responsible our educators and the dumbing down in many areas and inflated exam grades creates a false promise of competence of those emerging from education.

We owe a collective apology to the million unemployed 16-24 year olds, yes they should have been made to follow more useful courses but without the basics in the 3R’s how do you expect industry to use these people? It makes my blood boil.

And today, what are we doing about it?

Not enough, so the sausage machine continues to churn out the unemployable. Where are the welders of tomorrow going to come from? There are still UK skills shortages in certain areas particularly the old fashioned trades – bench joiners, CNC operators, and Engineers. Similarly in the Healthcare industry basic carers and nurses remain in high demand but people are either not qualified, don’t like the hours or won’t relocate to get the jobs. The number of Polish workers arriving is dropping  but certain sectors would grind to a halt without them. Food manufacturing, distribution and hospitality being the big ones.

So why doesn’t the government make matching people with vacancies its number one priority? As an employer I long ago gave up trying to work with the Job Centre as it represents bottom trawling and such a high percentage of people are just unreliable at many simply don’t want to work. There are options if anybody wants to listen but private sector involvement is a prerequisite

We should all be behind IDS’s plans to out the scroungers as until the featherbed alternative is removed we will not make progress on unemployment.

Sad days and it will be some time before we can get the great back into Britain.


Author: Chris Slay

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