We are constantly bombarded with propaganda about unemployment, hard-working people, ‘scroungers’, welfare and the difference between the Living Wage and the Government’s misappropriation of that title in place of the Minimum Wage.
The trouble is that many people don’t realize that it IS propaganda; after all, they give us all the facts and figures to back it up don’t they?
Well, yes and no. They give us all kinds of statistics which, although technically true and accurate, are cleverly and deliberately designed to make sure that people don’t actually know the facts. The way they do this is to use obscure definitions and subsets of information in order to make their political points. A brief examination of the Statistical bulletin: UK Labour Market, October 2015, on the Office for National Statistics website, illustrates this point very well.
When we talk about these issues, there are a couple of essential facts which we need to know from the outset. Politicians rarely, if ever, mention these facts. They include the size of the workforce, both in and out of work and the actual number of working hours available to that workforce. Happily The Office for National Statistics provides us with the answers to these questions:
On sheet 1 of the above spreadsheet we find that the number of Economically Active* people over 16 from June to August 2015 was 32,896,000. Of those, 1,774,000 were unemployed according to the ONS definition.
*Economically Active refers to the number of people over 16 who are in work plus the number of people who meet the definition of ‘unemployed’. It does NOT include those who are not claiming benefits but aren’t in work, NOR does it include people who are unable to work through sickness or disability.
On sheet 7 we find that 996,100,000 hours were worked during the same period. The average number of hours worked was 32.0; the average number of hours worked by full-time workers was 37.3; part-time workers worked an average of 16.2 hours and second jobs accounted for an average of 9.6 hours.
Simply by dividing the number of available hours between the number of people able to work those hours, we arrive at an average of 30.28 hours available to each worker. It is immediately clear that the average number of hours worked by those already in work (32.0) is greater than the number of hours available to the average Economically Active person (30.28).
This is the true reason why 1,774,000 people are unemployed; it has little or nothing to do with laziness or scrounging. Naturally, the Government don’t want people to know this; they’re much happier for those in and out of work to blame each other for the country’s labour and financial problems.
Sadly, the available work is under attack from a number of assailants. Businesses are automating more and more tasks to the detriment of the workforce. More and more jobs are outsourced to overseas call centres, service providers and manufacturers. The Government is trying to force sick and disabled people to take more and more of the available work and older people are being forced to work later and later in life.
Those who benefit most from the efforts and spending power of the workforce, the big businesses, are being allowed to escape any moral duty to the population which they exploit. They avoid fair taxes and export the wealth which this country produces. They pay pitifully low wages while shipping £billions into offshore accounts. How can it be right that a government elected to serve the people are actively engaged in robbing the population and asset-stripping the country?
Social Security, or welfare as they like to call it, is not a luxury it is an absolute necessity. Businesses can’t be trusted to pay a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, they’re only interested in profit.
It is the Government’s job is to make sure that the population are fed, housed and kept healthy. If they have £billions available to go to war in far off lands, or to “invest” in unusable weapons; if they have enough slack in their budget to allow their cronies a free pass on taxation; if they can pay China to build our infrastructure, they can afford to keep the British people warm, clothed, fed, housed, healthy and happy.
They can also afford to make sure that there is a fair distribution of the available work among those able to do that work, fair reward for those in work and reasonable, liveable compensation to those who are deprived of that work.
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