A Damning Look At What Austerity Is Doing To Unemployment In The UK

uk protests, dec 2010

Photo: AP

Those who think that austerity is the only way to deal with national debts and deficits should take a close look at the employment picture in austerity Britain.Preliminary data for October show a 900 per cent increase in government funded apprenticeships being taken up by people over 60. The apprentice scheme was set up to give youth a chance to get on the job ladder.

The youth unemployment rate is expected to crack 1 million when figures are released on Wednesday. But the fact that almost 4,000 over-60’s have taken up these jobs tells you that the jobs crisis cuts across all age ranges and people are getting desperate.

Adding to the bleak picture: a survey of 1000 employers by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development was published in Britain today and it makes for pretty difficult reading for those who thought that the private sector would step in and pick up the slack as government workers lose their jobs in the austerity drive.

The key point in the CIPD report, “The figures point to a slow, painful contraction in the jobs market. Many firms appear to be locked in ‘wait and see’ mode,”

Waiting and seeing is a painful attitude with unemployment at a 17 year high and expected to rise.

At least part of Britain’s employment woes are due to the contraction going on in its biggest trading partner: the euro zone. Today Chancellor Angela Merkel told a conference of her Christian Democratic Union that Europe is in “perhaps the toughest hour since World War II.”

She continued, “The challenge of our generation is to finish what we started in Europe, and that is to bring about, step by step, a political union.”

Hint to the Chancellor’s speech writers … promise political union will mean job creation. That is all anyone is concerned with in Europe these days.

This post originally appeared at The Christian Science Monitor.

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