Recent figures released by the Office for National Statistics indicate a fall in unemployment in the UK. However, before we take to the streets to celebrate Mr Osbourne’s great accomplishment of creating jobs and lifting people out of poverty we must consider a couple of issues. According to the ONS, the number of people out of work fell by 125,000. The same figures also show that the number of young people out of work has also fallen. Furthermore, the number of self-employed people in the UK has risen. Does this mean that the government’s Neo-liberal policies have increased the labour market, and if so will the rate of poverty in the UK be adequately addressed?
Before everyone begins to consider electing a Conservative government in 2015 we need to firstly look at the current state of poverty in the UK. The best way to address this is to focus on the usage of food banks by the UK’s poverty stricken families. A report that was commissioned by the government found that low income, unemployment and benefit delays have combined to trigger a rise in demand for food banks among the UK’s poorest families. The report found that a rise in food prices coupled with declining incomes and low pay have contributed to a rise in the number of families that can no longer afford to put food on the table.
Therefore, the fall in unemployment on the face of it may indicate a fall in the rate of poverty but for those who are lucky enough to find a job, are faced with precarious job contracts and low wages along with rising food and energy prices, which inevitably means that some families have to choose between keeping their homes warm or feeding their children. The winners and losers in this regard are obvious. The clear winners are the companies that have benefitted from zero-hour contracts and wages rises that are lower than the rate of inflation. The latest ONS figures also give the government the mandate to continue cutting benefits. I will leave you to consider who the losers are.