While opposition to Tory cuts continues, Labour has huge support for its commitment to restoring school budgets. At the same time however, the Party leadership also promises to ‘balance the books’ and maintain ‘fiscal credibility’. By this it means that over the course of a five-year Parliament, current (day to day) expenditure will be largely … Continue reading How should Labour finance education and public services?
Jeremy Corbyn’s recent speech to engineering and manufacturing employers has ( as is generally the case!) been misrepresented. Launching Labour’s Build it in Britain, Corbyn has been accused of wanting to establish a ‘protectionist’ blanket around UK manufacturing and by implication being ‘pro-Brexit’ even though it’s questionable whether there’s anything in EU legislation that would … Continue reading Labour and Industry
After last week’s budget, we now get the government’s equally uninspiring ‘industrial strategy’. Based on proposals published in January of this year, the 250 page Building a Britain fit for the future claims to provide ‘a new approach to how government and business can work together’. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s more about the … Continue reading Wanted: a POST INDUSTRIAL strategy
UK unemployment continues to fall, it’s now at 4.4%, down from 4.9 % a year ago. Yet much more significant is the greater increase in the size of the workforce. For example, the most recent monthly ONS data shows a fall in unemployment of just under 160,000 over the year, but a 340 000 increase in those working. … Continue reading Capital’s ‘reserve army’ (part 2)
Alarm bells continue to ring about the implications of (a hard) Brexit for UK skill levels, future growth and prosperity. By the end of 2016 there were 2.2 million working EU migrants -7% of the labour force. Most recently there’s been specific concern about the effect of Brexit on an already understaffed NHS. EU immigrants … Continue reading Brexit and skills shortages
Election discussion about the economy, employment, and skills, largely avoided any reference to the debate about automation and its consequences for work. Even if it’s accepted that technological progress will eliminate jobs (though there are major differences of opinion about how many) it’s also generally argued that low-paid unskilled work will be replaced by new, … Continue reading As Matthew Taylor publishes his report, its automation that’s the elephant in the room
With growing concerns about the dramatic increase of insecure employment and the abuses of the ‘gig economy’, this week’s TUC conference was a welcome intervention. According to the TUC, 1 in 10 workers are now affected by casualization and job insecurity, which invariably combine with low pay. Increasing numbers are also ‘self-employed’ often against their … Continue reading The Gig is Up? TUC conference on insecure work
Almost 1 in 4 of trade union members are employed in education. According to the ONS 1.47 million of a total union membership of 6.2 million are now drawn from this sector. With almost half (47.7%) of all employees belonging to a trade union, the education has probably become the most organised. (In manufacturing, union density … Continue reading 1 in 4 trade union members now work in education
Latest figures from the ONS, show the employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) at 74.6%, the joint highest since records began in 1971. The unemployment rate has also fallen to 4.7%, down from 5.1% for a year earlier. It has not been lower since June to … Continue reading From a profits squeeze to a wages grab
The UK is not an industrial economy in the traditional sense, despite what some politicians try and persuade us -remember George Osborne’s ‘march of the makers’. Like other countries, the proportion of the GDP devoted to manufacturing has dwindled as consumers become richer and spend a larger proportion of their income on services. Though … Continue reading Bringing back manufacturing jobs?