8 September 2009

Research by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has revealed that the recession is having the worst impact upon low paid and unskilled workers. Read the report here. This affects many workers in Cornwall.

The TUC shows that people in “elementary” jobs are disproportionately more likely to suffer unemployment in contrast to people in professional work. Additionally,
people from low paid and unskilled jobs are more likely to spend more than six months unemployed than people from professional jobs.

Low paid workers have little or no opportunity to save for rainy days from their wages and for them Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) is a very important income. Brendan Barber, the TUC general secretary, says: “Increasing JSA by as little as £10 a week would make a real difference to millions of families.”

He is right. I know these are difficult times for the national (and global) economy and some serious financial cuts are necessary. However, a civilised country must seek to protect its poorest and most vulnerable people. We cannot shield people from unemployment; we can mitigate its effects on the incomes and lives of those who have least. Eventually economic improvement and consequent more work will help them. In the immediate meantime JSA should be increased for them.

Job seekers allowance (JSA) claims by occupation, TUC September 2009. A summary is in the TUC press release, Low paid hit hardest by recession, 4 September 2009.