Unemployment figures: 18th March 2009
- 03:35 pm, Wed 18th Mar 2009
Today's unemployment figures show the depth of the recession. Behind the statistics lie the human stories of thousands of people who have lost their jobs. For each person and each family involved it is a time of worry, of uncertainty and of course of a sharp drop in income.
The recession is global. Unemployment is rising all over the world. That of course is no comfort to those affected. They want to know what help is available and what the Government will do for them.
We are determined not to make the mistake of past recessions when the unemployed were left with a benefit cheque which may just about have kept body and soul together but didn't give people the chance they need to make a fresh start. So Labour will stand by the unemployed and make sure help and advice is available on retraining and other work opportunities.
Specifically we are:
Investing nearly £2bn more to give more help at every stage of unemployment:
Before redundancies happen:
· We give help to people at risk of redundancy to find a new job, even before they become unemployed through our Rapid Response Service (RRS). Full briefing on the RRS and local contact details for dealing with redundancies in your area is available.
· We have doubled the funding for RRS, and will double it again.
From Day One of Unemployment:
· We announced in the Pre Budget Report that we would invest more to guarantee that everyone looking for work will, from day one:
· Help and advice on finding a new job;
· Help to write a new CV and fill in job applications;
· Help on retraining and skills advice;
· Help with their rent and with their mortgage from 13 weeks;
· Help to access to the new vacancies recorded by Jobcentre Plus every working day.
· The Tories oppose this help because they oppose spending any more money to help people through the downturn. Real help costs real money.
From 3 Months Unemployed:
· People will get extra help with mortgage payments (SMI) to help them keep their homes when they lose their job. We are giving twice as much help, paid earlier.
· In addition, we step up the help we give with wider job search and more intensive support from advisers.
New guarantee of support from 6 months unemployed:
· We know that the majority of people move off Jobseekers Allowance within 6 months, but we are guaranteeing more help for those that don’t.
· We are promising every jobseeker more support if they have not managed to find a new job within six months. As well as extra funds for Jobcentre Plus to allow them to provide more intensive and personalised support, the two year package will include access to:
· “Employers’ Golden Hellos”: incentives of up to £2500 (£1000 in Scotland and Wales) paid to employers to recruit and train unemployed people
· New training places: extra funding for training places to help unemployed people get new skills to maximise their chances of getting jobs from the 500,000 vacancies in the economy.
· Work-focused volunteering options: opportunities to volunteer to help people back into work habits
· Help to set up a business – advice on creating a business plan, plus funding for the first months of trading.
· Our message to people is the longer you're out of work, the harder we will work for you.
· We want to reassure people that there are still over half a million jobs out there. Our priority is to make sure we carry on getting people into these jobs.
No government can tell people honestly that they can prevent unemployment or stop them losing their job. But Governments can offer help to people in this situation and try to ensure they get a second chance. And that is what Labour will do.