In recent months, the reasons for part-time working have shifted dramatically. Once again, the Tories have missed this chance to show up Labour lies.
Research conducted by The Children’s Mutual Fund nine years ago found that 24% of dads started working flexibly for the sake of their loved ones. There has been a concerted attempt by the Government to quietly present the growth in this sort of employment as an ongoing trend. But there is a big difference between ‘flexible’ and part-time working.
Last month there were 7,000 fewer people ‘officially’ unemployed. But even New Labour weren’t quite so daft as to suggest this was good news: they couldn’t, as the ONS – still thankfully free from their number-bending clutches – showed a whopping 99,000 rise in people working part-time. Within this sector there are two subgroups:
1. Males who can’t find full-time work doing anything rather than nothing. And
2. Females forced back to work because the household can no longer survive on one income.
There is also an additional largely unaudited sector of ‘full-time’ people retaining their jobs while taking a paycut. The cuts are as high as 40% according to the TUC – although the TUC would say that.
Graduate unemployment rates have trebled since last Autumn. In the year previous to that, the numbers of degreed jobless candidates rose by 44%.
Ironically, there is a very good reason why underemployment is at higher levels this time: social welfare reforms carried out by both major Parties in the last twenty years mean previous dole-takers now must work.
The apparently ‘healthy’ fall in registered unemployed is nothing of the sort: it reflects past toughening up on jobseeker rules, and reduced benefits for those now genuinely without any work at all.
This is the economy that New Labour in house-writer Will Hutton thinks will turn round this year.