Figures from the second quarter have shown that unemployment in the UK has risen by 38,000 making the total 2.49 million. The new figures bring the rate of unemployment to 7.9% up from 7.7%. The number of people who are claiming Jobseeker’s allowance has consequently also raised, for the fifth consecutive month to 1.56million, a rise of 37,100.
The rise in unemployment was unexpected by most economists as they had predicted the number would decrease. However, the chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, David Kern, has stated that it is unsurprising taking into account the measures being taken by the government to balance the budget. In addition, he predicts that unemployment will increase by a further 150,000 over the next 12 months. George Osborne agrees with Kern that they are unsurprising results but admits that nevertheless they are still disappointing. He has also stated that the government are continually trying to create new jobs in the hope of bringing the figure down. He added that the government aims to make jobs across the UK and not just in the London area and he believes these new jobs will have a very positive effect on unemployment rates.
In contrast, Stephen Timms the Shadow employment minister has argued that there are just not enough jobs for what we need. In his opinion, considering the country has been out of the recession for a year and a half we should be seeing a lot more growth. He believes the government’s spending cuts are only worsening the situation.
Similarly, the general secretary of Unison, Dave Prentis, has also blamed the rise in unemployment of the government’s spending cuts. He thinks the government would achieve better results if they stopped focusing on what they can cut and start focusing more on how we can grow.
This view has been opposed by the CBI deputy director general, Neil Bentley, who pointed out that whilst the number of people unemployed rose, the number of people in employment did too. He explained that in the last twelve months, more than half a million new jobs have been created by the private sector.
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