“We Need a New Economic Plan”: TUC after Rise in Unemployment Rates

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Every region in England is experiencing a rise in unemployment rates and a fall in job vacancies. This is according to a new analysis by the Trades Union Congress (TUC). The TUC has called the Conservative Party’s assertions that the economic outlook is improving “laughable”. Read on to learn more about the statistics, the TUC’s outlook, and the potential impact of visa caps.

Rise in Unemployment as Opportunities Decline

The TUC’s analysis of recent data published by the Office for National Statistics has revealed some startling conclusions. From January to March 2024, unemployment rates across England rose by 178,000. This was an overall increase of 0.5% compared with figures for October-December 2023. Worryingly, this is more than most other countries in the OECD, matched only by Costa Rica.

The regions most severely affected include the North West, West Midlands, and London. There, they saw a rise in unemployment by 47,000, 38,000, and 37,000, respectively.

Read: After The Great Resignation Comes “The Big Stay”: How to Retain Employees in 2024

A separate dataset shows that all regions in England have seen a fall in vacancies over the same period. The South West has been affected most severely, with an 11.7% fall in vacancies. This is closely followed by London, with an 11.1% decrease and the West Midlands and South East, each with an 11% decrease.

In addition to the rise in unemployment and fall in vacancies, the TUC highlighted a number of other factors with which it says the government has been “failing working people”. These include the worth of real wages continuing to be lower than in 2008, the prevalence of insecure working, and long-term sickness levels being at a record high. According to the TUC, over the past 14 years, England has experienced the worst government performance on growth since World War II, when records first began.

Would Visa Caps Negatively Impact the Labour Market?

This news comes just days after the government announced a plan to impose a cap on the number of work and family visas to be granted in the UK each year, should the Conservative Party retain power following the upcoming general election. In an effort to reduce net immigration, Rishi Sunak spoke of his plans to introduce an annual limit on visas. Here, MPs would vote on the immigration restrictions annually before seeking the input of the Migration Advisory Committee regarding viability.

In an effort to reduce net immigration, Rishi Sunak spoke of his plans to introduce an annual limit on visas. Here, MPs would vote on the immigration restrictions annually before seeking the input of the Migration Advisory Committee regarding viability.
Photo Credits – mana5280 via Unsplash

Louise Haycock, a partner of Fragomen, voiced concerns about the government’s proposal, stating that it would be contrary to the need to stabilise the immigration system. She said, “We have been here before. It was clunky, slow, and impacted those with lower salaries regardless of the need for workers in those categories.” She added, “This is simply designed to appeal to those sceptical on immigration and not to serve the needs of the economy”.

In April 2024, the government increased the minimum salary threshold for new Skilled Worker Visa applications, meaning that applicants for most roles would need a job offer with a significantly higher salary to be eligible. The threshold has increased from the former £26,200 per year to £37,800. These changes are likely to impact employers recruiting graduates and junior staff, as well as those in retail and hospitality.

“We Need a New Economic Plan”

The TUC has expressed disappointment with the government’s current stance. Given the present position with respect to the rise in unemployment rates and the fall in vacancies, it has called the government’s claims that the UK’s economic outlook is improving “laughable” and stated that “this complacency is costing Britain dear”.

Paul Nowak, the TUC’s general secretary, has highlighted the importance of change, referencing the Labour Party’s proposed New Deal for Working People and Green Prosperity Plan as ways to potentially achieve this.

Read: Labour Party’s New Deal Get Business Leaders Support

Enumerating the problems with the present system, he said: “The Conservatives are failing working people. Joblessness and economic inactivity are up. Over four million people are trapped in insecure work. And real wages are still worth less than in 2008.”

Mr Nowak sees the Labour Party as the UK’s best chance, stating: “Our country is crying out for change. We need a government that will make work pay and deliver better jobs, growth and living standards”.

We hope you enjoyed this latest employment law scoop concerning the TUC’s analysis of the UK’s rise in unemployment. To make sure you don’t miss future breaking news from the sector, sign up for our newsletter now! Also, if you have any employment law issues, contact Redmans Solicitors. They are specialists in the industry and could help you navigate your problem.


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