Sunday, 22 November 2009

Meg Hillier Vs Diane Abbott on unemployment

Earlier this month Diane Abbott wrote a comment piece for the Hackney Gazette, (Page 16, November 5)

She said: "We are going through tough economic times and unemployment rates have been rising all over the UK but this year Hackney North and Stoke Newington has seen one of the lowest rises in unemployment in the country."

I'm not sure where that figure comes from. As far as I can tell the Hackney North and Stoke Newington's JSA count has been at, or above, the London average. This month Hackney North and Stoke Newington was showing a 1.7% increase between October 2008 and October 2009. This was just above the London Average of 1.6%.

If Diane was looking at the previous month's figures she wouldn't have done much better. The increase was 1.7% (September 2008-September 2009) last month too, equal to the London average and in August it was 1.9% (August 2008-August 2009), well above the 1.7% London average.

However it is certainly lower than Hackney South and Shoreditch where the annual rates have been 2.3% (October 2008-October 2009), 2.4% (September 2008-September 2009) and 2.5% (August 2008-August 2009).

According to Diane, the low levels of unemployment in Hackney North are: "Thanks to a number of projects targeted at getting people back into work, including job fairs, pre-employment training and recruitment drives for big companies like Marks and Spencers and Sainsbury's.

"Employment is a key issue for me and a great deal more needs to be done, but when the Labour Party came into power in 1997 my constituency had the fourth highest level of unemployment in the country.

"Now we have the 66th highest level of unemployment. So nobody can say that we have not made progress."

These policies don't seem to have been so effective for her fellow Hackney MP Meg Hillier. Hillier's constituency, Hackney South and Shoreditch, presumably with access to the same initiatives as Diane's, has seen a large increase in unemployment. This month the borough has the highest proportion of JSA claimants of all London boroughs.

Diane's claims could relate to the borough's worklessness problem which has improved but these figures are only available up to March 2009 and are still above the London average.
Or they could be in the same category as the unexplained drop in the borough's level of worklessness - unknown.

Links to Blood and Property stories on unemployment:
Hackney has joint highest job seeker count
42% of Hackney households on benefits
Job Centre reorganised: can it cope?
Hackney crime figures - the only way is up
Hackney women losing jobs faster than men
Hackney: a worklessness miracle
Don't look a gift horse in the mouth
Unemployed in Hackney: The lull before the storm
Will Hackney return to 17% on the dole?

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