Yesterday, the London Labour Party issued a press statement about unemployment in Croydon Central. I’ve reproduced it below.
You’ll notice that at no point do they give the total number of people out of work in my constituency. There’s a reason for that – it is fallen significantly since Labour were turfed out at the last General Election.
In October, 1,622 of my constituents claimed Job Seekers Allowance (JSA). That’s 1,321 or nearly 45 per cent lower than when this Government came to power.
The news regarding youth unemployment is even better. 395 of the 1,622 Croydon Central residents claiming JSA in October were between the ages of 18 and 24. That's 375 or nearly 49 per cent lower than it was in May 2010.
Labour’s press release only refers to the long-term unemployed. So how, you ask, can it be the case that unemployment is down by 45 per cent but long-term unemployment is up by 1,000 per cent?
The answer is because the way the figures are counted has changed.
The last Labour Government used to move people from JSA to a Training Allowance and then once they finished their training back on to JSA, but they counted these people as new claimants to keep the long-term unemployment figures down. This Government doesn’t do that, which is why the figures appear to have gone up. Don’t take my word for it – here is the reply I received from the excellent House of Commons Library when I questioned the figures:
Dear Mr Barwell,
You asked why the long-term JSA claimant has increased since May 2010.
Since 2010, changes in the way benefits are paid to certain individuals on welfare-to-work programmes have affected the number of long-term claimants of JSA, particularly for young people. Previously, some individuals were moved from claiming JSA on to a Training Allowance when on certain schemes; once they finished the scheme they returned to JSA (if they remained unemployed) but were counted as a new claimant, thereby breaking the original claim’s duration. Since 2011, many fewer people have been moved from JSA to a Training Allowance. This has resulted in the statistics showing a higher number of longer-term JSA claimants. A DWP note, The effect of policy changes on the youth claimant count, gives more details.
I hope this helps – let me know if you need anything else.
Economic Policy and Statistics, House of Commons Library
So Gloria, the Tory MP is not oblivious to what’s going on here. The truth is unemployment in my constituency is down considerably under this Government. And it only appears that long-term unemployment is up because under Labour the figures were fiddled to disguise the truth.
The fact that my opponent has to resort to a dodgy dossier worthy of Alastair Campbell speaks volumes about the bankruptcy of Labour’s economic policy.
The Labour press release:
NUMBER OF LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED ADULTS IN CROYDON CENTRAL SOARS 1,000% PER CENT SINCE LAST GENERAL ELECTION
Analysis of the latest official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed the total number of adults out of work for more than two years in Croydon Central has rocketed by 1,000% per cent since the last General Election.
The figures also show the number of young people signing on for longer than 12 months is up by 300 per cent in just four years.
With the next election now less than six months away, Labour's General Election Campaign Deputies Gloria De Piero and Jonathan Ashworth will be hitting the campaign trail in Croydon Central on Tuesday (18 November) to highlight how key suburbs and towns are being left behind by the Tory-led Government.
Tuesday's visit is part of Gloria & Jonathan's national 'Labour Express' campaign tour to highlight Labour's One Nation message in the battleground constituencies that will decide the next General Election. The two MPs have already visited Lowestoft, Harlow, Brighton, Morecambe and Blackpool.
Jon Ashworth MP, Labour's Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, said:
"The next stop for the Labour Express is Croydon Central and, like so many of Britain's towns and suburbs, it has so much going for it, but it is being badly let down by its Tory MP and the Tory-led Government.”
"We'll be rolling into town to campaign against the devastating rise in long-term unemployment the area has seen in just four years. Sarah Jones, Gloria and I will be talking to Croydon residents on the doorsteps to listen to their concerns and we'll be discussing Labour's positive plan to tackle long-term unemployment and find work for jobless people here.”
Gloria De Piero MP, Labour's Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities added:
"The Tory MP might be oblivious to what's going on here, but with a Labour Government and Sarah Jones on Croydon's side - folk won't just be left on the dole.”
"Labour will get the next generation back into work with a compulsory 'jobs guarantee' for the over 25s out of work for two years and for young people out of work for a year.”
"We'll pay for our jobs plan with a repeat of Labour's tax on bank bonuses. Under these radical plans the long term unemployed would have to take a job or face losing their benefits."
Sarah Jones, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Croydon Central said:
"We need to do all that we can to highlight just what a rough deal Croydon residents have had since 2010, so I'm grateful to have two brilliant campaigning MPs joining me on Tuesday.”
"Gavin Barwell and the Tories have been woefully complacent since they came to power. Labour's jobs guarantee would change the lives of people in Croydon who have been left behind by Barwell and this Tory Government."