Today’s unemployment figures cannot be taken at face value, according to Bradford West MP George Galloway.
While the national and local figures show a fall they remain unacceptably high in West Yorkshire and Bradford in particular. Bradford West had an unemployment rate of 8.1% in December, the sixth highest of the 650 constituencies in Britain, and almost double the national average.
But these figures aren’t the true measure of unemployment. More than 2 million people have had their benefits taken away and according to a report submitted to a House of Commons select committee hundreds of thousands of those cut from jobseeker’s allowance have been unable to find work. The report was written by academics at the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Bradford West MP George Galloway commented:
“You would think from all the noise from the ConDem coalition that the economy was solved. That simply isn’t the case. We don’t know whether the drop in the unemployment numbers is because people have found work or because they have been chopped off jobseeker’s allowance through benefit sanctions. Evidence presented to a House of Commons select committee shows that hundreds of thousands who have had their benefits taken away have been unable to find work. And there are 2million people who have had their benefits removed like this. So I simply don’t trust the government’s figures.
“But apart from that Bradford West still has the sixth highest unemployment rate of 650 British constituencies. It’s 8.1%, getting on for twice the national average. I keep arguing for special measures for Bradford but this government, if it is listening, simply doesn’t care.”
From the House of Commons library: Key facts
The number of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants in Bradford West constituency in December 2014 was 3,752. This represents a rate of 8.1% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64, the 6th highest of the 650 UK constituencies. (1st = highest rate of unemployment, 650th = lowest rate of unemployment.)
The number of claimants is 1271 lower than in December 2013 and 77 lower than in November 2014. These data are not seasonally adjusted.