Dianne Abbott was on the Andrew Marr Show today with Ian Duncan Smith. While DA was quite complimentary towards IDS’s views on benefits, she said that we should be careful about cuts because if the public sector contracts, there will be no jobs in the private sector due to the recession. I was surprised at this, why is the public sector suddenly become responsible for providing people with employment? And if you do not find employment in Hackney, why cannot you move to a place where there IS employment? Surely nobody is sitting here saying that they HAVE to have a job at their doorstep? If we do not have freedom of labour inside our own country, what on earth is going on?
So I went looking for some evidence. This is a report which was produced couple of years back. Based upon the graph in page 7, the public sector was the highest employer in the area. A total of 35% were in the public sector. This is in 2003, and I have no reason to believe that this figure has fallen. There are many reasons why there is not much job growth in this area is the lack of suitable premises and very high rental levels. So what has Dianne Abbott done on this? Searching for “rental” on her website provided no hits. There are also no hits on “planning” on her website. Lots of hits on “rents”, but none that I could see related to her attempts to address premises or rents to increase jobs. For jobs there were quite a lot of hits but none that really showed me that she was actually sitting down and addressing the actual problem of entrepreneurs creating jobs. Peripheral stuff yes, transport, crime, poverty, education, Olympics, and and and, but the crucial problems that have been identified for job creation? Not much. She writes an article on Unemployment here. But her speech doesnt seem to address the basic problems of entrepreneurs who want to set up businesses as identified by the above report. In any case, her figures and assertions were challenged in this post.
Here is some further detail on Hackney’s unemployment situation and it makes for absolute dire reading. For example, 42% of Hackney’s households are on housing benefit and this is rising. DA has been an MP for this area since 1987, its not like she is new in this area. Her wiki entry says that she is interested in race, black people, schools, civil liberties. All very good stuff, but nothing about the basics being done I am afraid. She has asked quite a lot of questions in parliament about Departments: Home Department, Health, International Development, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Education and Skills and Subjects (based on headings added by Hansard): Haiti, Asylum Seekers, Mental Health, Haiti: Earthquakes, Hackney, but doesnt seem to be doing much on the employment front. How about her pushing to see what was done about the recommendations of this report published in 2006?
- Low levels of qualifications
- Lack basic skills for life
- Lack of affordable and accessible childcare
- Sickness and disability
- Poor transport and access to labour market
- Engrained culture of worklessness
- Opportunities presented by the informal economy
13 years of Labour Government, she being there since 1987, and we are STILL seeing these issues? These are all supply side problems mainly, what about the demand side? Why arent they doing what the entrepreneurs and job creators want?
Guess what? Hackney think there are NO red issues. What the hell? How can you NOT have any red issues with unemployment in double figures and half of the damn council’s population on benefits? What will it take to go on the red register? the Black Death Plague? or an Asteroid Landing? So I am afraid I will have to conclude that Dianne Abbott has to do much more about some basic things on the jobs front. Here’s a suggestion, Dianne. Concentrate on speaking to and working with people who are going to give the jobs rather than looking for the public sector or the supply side. If you give people housing, if you give them benefits, and then wonder why unemployment is high, it doesnt work. Get them to move to where the jobs are if that is indeed the problem.