I had thought that this blog would be entirely focussed on purely local issues. However, the release of the ONS (Office for National Statistics) shows some surprising trends. And, employment is clearly a hugely important local issue. I am indebted to Cllr Peter Cawthron for his work in identifying and making comprehensible the points made here.

For those of you with the will to look into the detail the spreadsheet containing these figures is available here:- http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/august-2015/table-a01.xls .

The headlines show us that unemployment is up 25,000 and employment is down 63,000, comparing Apr-Jun 2015 with Jan-Mar 2014 (which is the standard year on year comparison). Clearly this is not what we would all wish for.

What is very interesting is the way the detail can be interpreted. The Guardian goes with the headline “UK unemployment rises as most new jobs go to citizens of other EU states”. It also states that “nearly 75% of employment growth was among non-UK nationals”, which is comparing Apr-Jun 2104 with Apr-Jun 2015. The article in full is here:- http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/aug/12/uk-unemployment-labour-market-job-losses .

If you look into the change over the lifetime of the current Conservative administration (including the last coalition parliament) the ONS spreadsheet shows the following:

Employment Change, Apr-Jun 2010 – Apr-Jun 2015 (Thousands of people):

Total UK 1,841
Born in UK 741
Born outside UK 1,093

This is showing that 59.4% of the jobs created under the Conservatives have gone to people born outside the UK. Of the 1,093 thousand jobs going to people born outside the EU, 663 thousand went to people born in the EU and 431 thousand went to people born outside the EU.

This leaves open the question as to why unemployed Brits appear to be losing out in the jobs market. Are they not able to provide the skills required? Do they prefer to live on benefits? The UKIP policy of introducing a points based system would restrict the flow of low skilled labour into the UK, raising low skilled wages. That would presumably draw people off benefits as the balance between work and benefits shifts. This is particularly relevant for the residents of Tendring, where we do have a high number of low skilled unemployed, compared to the rest of the country. However, it does appear that there are issues around training and benefits as well. Do we train enough doctors? Is a cap of £18,200pa for a single person with no children too generous?