UK employment is a success story

As Labour left office in 2010 there were 2.5 million people out of work . There were 1.5 million claiming Job Seekers Allowance.  Today there are 1.84 million out of work, and 770,000 claiming Job Seekers Allowance. Employment has risen from 28.8 million to more than 31 million.

Most people now know the UK economy has created an additional 2 million jobs over the last five years. Fewer know that many of these jobs are full time, and many  of them have been taken by UK citizens who were out of work or just joining the workforce from school and college. The fact that people on Jobseekers Allowance  has almost halved is good news.

The figures are also a reminder that more needs to be done to help more of the remaining people who are  out of work into employment.

If we compare the UK with other countries in Europe, we can see that the UK has been one of the best performers, alongside Germany. The table beneath shows the problems in most of the larger EU countries, and in Greece, the worst performer:

Unemployment rate

Greece        26%

Spain         23.2%

Portugal    14.1%

Italy          12.2%

France      10.6%

UK             5.6%


Employment rate

Greece         49.6%

Italy              56.0%

Spain            56.8%

Portugal       63.0%

France          64.1%

UK                73.3%


  1. Lifelogic
    April 30, 2015

    Well yes, but they are largely jobs for low paid workers. Workers are then topping up their wages with housing benefit, tax credits, child benefits, free prescriptions and the likes. These workers are mainly a net liability to the state, as we see reflected the huge public sector deficit.

    Yet still Cameron lies that we are:- “repaying the debt”!

    Miliband/SNP will of course be even worse if thank to Cameron he gets in. Once his tax increases, non-dom, business and landlord attacks start the few who are paying net taxes will leave, increasing the huge deficit still further. A repeat of the French disaster under the economic disaster that is M. Hollande.

    1. Roy Grainger
      April 30, 2015

      I’m not bothered about removing non-don status. It strikes me as absurd that the Governor of the Bank of England is a non-dom. The USA economy is doing OK and yet they have much more severe rules on taxation of their citizens’ overseas earnings than us even if non-dom status were removed.

    2. Hope
      April 30, 2015

      I also note the BBC has three of its EU parties debating tonight without the balance of any party opposing? Given the vast amount of policy issues given to the EU by the cartel there is nothing of substance to debate or listen to. Once more, the Royal Charter having no bearing on what the BBC broadcasts.

      The biggest insult is that the British taxpayer has to pay the bill for both the EU and BBC! OfCom ruling appears not to affect the BBC unlike all other broadcasters. Time for it to be privatised.

      1. Jerry
        April 30, 2015

        @Hope; [re tonight’s BBC QT “Leaders Special”] If you think the BBC is breaking election laws then make a formal complaint to the election commission, and indeed given the likely general election polling results it could be argued that there is a case for other parties to be present, such as PC, the NI parties and the SNP etc, not just UKIP, even the Greens could argue that they might well have enough seats to affect the balance of power. Nor does it matter what the policy is, it’s fair representation that will be judged, thus a complaint and change of format might actually further dilute the eurosceptic message, not strengthen it… Hum.

        “OfCom ruling appears not to affect the BBC”

        Nothing to do with Ofcom, perhaps you meant the Electoral Commission?

        As for the methods of TV funding in the UK, indeed it is time to stop people being forced to pay for TV they do not watch and might not even be able to legally access, time to ban adverts from TV stations, make the broadcasts fund the channels via individual subscriptions or some form of PAYG set-top box – which would mean that all Freeview/Freesat channels would have to be placed behind a pay-wall too, not just the BBC. It could also mean that the satellite subscription broadcasters would not be able to offer their channel packages, were one has to pay for 40 odd channels you don’t want nor watch just to get the single channel you do! Funny how neither the commercial nor the subscription broadcasters have pushed this issue, even though a much weaker BBC would -on the surface- appear to boost the commercial/subscription broadcasters…

        Anyway, even if the BBC was “privatised” (and the current TVL scrapped) it would not stop the (resultant and quite literal) tax payer funding [1] of PSB TV and radio in the UK, the only other way of ensuring PSB existence [2] would be to place a surcharge on subscription services.

        [1] from the central taxation pot

        [2] if you do not think there is a need for PSB, you do not understand the very real issues

        Reply As I understand it the other party leaders are also getting interviews as well as Lib/Lab/Con

        1. David Price
          May 1, 2015

          What are the “real” issues of PSB? Ofcom describes PSB as ” local news coverage, arts programmes and religious broadcasts”. I have no interest in the last two that the BBC serves up and the only local coverage, what there is, is on radio so why should I have to fund broadcast TV? That leaves entertainment which is a matter of personal taste should not be a part of PBS.

          The issue of the BBC has come to a head because of the rubbish quality, obscene levels of pay and behaviour, and the overt lefty bias of BBC programming where it’s “talent” has decided that they make the news and control the narritive rather than simply reporting it.

          The TVL has become a problem because the BBC is the problem

          I would prefer to use pay-per-view on demand which is achievable now. By all means keep the news if you can enforce objective reporting but that needs to be PPV as well, just to keep things honest.

          1. Jerry
            May 1, 2015

            David Price; “I have no interest in the last two”

            Irrelevant, but if it was, I do not want to watch Sky (brand of channels) for example but I still have to fund them via the shop tills due to the adverts they carry, and this is something I would have to carry on funding even if I stopped paying the TVL fee and quite literally chucked our TVs out the window.

            As for your second paragraph regarding the BBC and perceived bias [1], have you watched Ch4 news lately, not forgetting Sky News (but then that channel tends to be rather more to your political liking…

            [1] funny how the BBC is accused of biased by both the political left and right, often citing the very same content as proof!

            “The TVL has become a problem because the BBC is the problem”?

            No, the problem is multi channel TV that has caused a race to bottom, viewing figures being far more important that the quality of the content.

            “I would prefer to use pay-per-view on demand which is achievable now. By all means keep the news if you can enforce objective reporting but that needs to be PPV as well, just to keep things honest.”

            You really do not understand the first thing about why PSB is so important, but then you have “no interest” in anything that can not be consumed unthinkingly like most people consume fast food I suspect, just so long as it fills a void… 🙁

          2. Jerry
            May 1, 2015

            @David Price; Ofcom describes PSB as ” local news coverage, arts programmes and religious broadcasts”

            Further to my previous reply, the point about Ofcom only relates to ITV and Ch4, the BBC’s PSB responsibilities have traditionally extended much further and still do to some degree but unfortunately outside and often ill-informed pressure from people who think like David Price and those with vestige interests in commercial and pay TV have caused the BBC to row back from much of the PSB they used to provide.

            One thing many do not realise is that the BBC had and still remains one of the main industry trainers for both TV and radio via their “BBC Academy”.

          3. David Price
            May 2, 2015

            So rather than offer anything material in a discussion to justify the BBC in its present form being funded as the PBS you descend to ad hominem ranting and declare anyone’s opinion or requirements other than your own as irrelevant.

            And your excuse for the BBC quality declining to such a great extent is that it needs to compete on viewing figures? What utter rubbish, a PSB doesn’t need to compete, it receives government funding which the BBC then uses to engage in unfair competition. I note the BBC has rowed back on education programming and seems to have replaced it with almost continual antiques, tat and property trading programmes. You rationale for this is pressure from other TV channels?

            I suggest pay per view on demand as a fair basis which would allow people to chose what they watch and pay for what they view. Your position appears to be that everyone pays the BBC regardless of what they want to watch but also that they should really be watching the BBC and no other.

          4. Jerry
            May 3, 2015

            @David Price; You see my comments as “ad hominem ranting” because you do not understand PSB, and that is always the problem when discussing the BBC with someone who appears to have a predetermined opinion that BBC should be closed down/sold off but is still frantically looking for an excuse beyond that usual faux pas one about bias! Oh and I have never said that I do not want to see substantive change at the BBC, indeed it is far to large, having fingers in far to many pies it shouldn’t but not in the pies it should.

            “And your excuse for the BBC quality declining to such a great extent is that it needs to compete on viewing figures? “

            No it doesn’t, but it has been told to do so, I wish it had not, I wish the BBC was far more PSB than a ratings driven ‘fake’ commercial broadcaster – even now employing many of the same marketing tools as the competition, even having BBC promotional adverts within and between programmes/segments. For example there is no reason for the BBC to broadcast vocal/music style talent contests simply because they are seen as a ratings battle winner with commercial rivals on a Saturday night but there is every reason for them to broadcast Opera for example even though you (and indeed myself) will have no interest in such a programme but others will. Oh and yes the BBC has rowed back from education programming (much was taken away from them [1] in the early 1990s). As for those “continual antiques, tat and property trading programmes”, much of this is due to cost savings that the BBC have been told to make – perhaps it would be better if they broadcast the test-card like the old days, at least then viewers would be able to set-up their TVs properly, rather than have tomato or cherry red faces!

            “I suggest pay per view on demand as a fair basis which would allow people to chose what they watch and pay for what they view.”

            How does that provide PSB? Also what if the programme,me is considered “tat”, will the viewer get a refund is they bail-out of the programme before it ends. One only has to look at the repeats found on subscription channels to understand how pre-paid/PAYG services can be abused by the broadcasters.

            “Your position appears to be that everyone pays the BBC regardless of what they want to watch but also that they should really be watching the BBC and no other.”

            Thanks for describing how we all fund commercial and much subscription TV, the latter whether we can legally watch it or not.

            My position is that of protecting PSB (which in the UK means funding the BBC or some such non commercialised broadcasting entity), and yes that does mean the public paying (via a TVL or a subscription / PAYG surcharge) for what they perhaps should be watching and not what they have chosen to watch instead – as the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to the water trough but you can’t make a horse drink from it, the best one can do to care for your horse is provide the water…

            There is much the commercial and subscription channels (and radio stations) can not provide, for sound commercial reasons, but a publicly funded BBC can, that is were I want the BBC to be, not competing for ratings with reality and talent shows or indeed those ‘property porn’ type programmes etc.

            [1] first to Ch4 and then “Teachers TV”, now it is assumed that IP based streaming/downloads by schools will surface, trouble is that leaves home schooled and others without. I have long advocated that proper education(al) programmes return to the BBC. In fact it would be a better use of the CBBC channel during school tern dates rather than broadcasting kids programmes the majority will not be able to watch due to the fact of being at school!

          5. David Price
            May 3, 2015

            @Jerry – no, I see your ad hominem attacks as such because they are ad hominem attacks.

            As for the rest of your rant I find the following the most telling;
            ” ..and yes that does mean the public paying (via a TVL or a subscription / PAYG surcharge) for what they perhaps should be watching and not what they have chosen to watch instead..”

            If this is an example of BBC think then this exposes an even clearer reason to shut the BBC down, not just getting rid of the TVL.

          6. Jerry
            May 6, 2015

            @David Price; As I said, you comment about PSB and the BBC without having a first clue about what PSB is and is not, thus you will see any rational argument for PSB as a ad hominem attack simply as self defence to protect your own gross ignorance. What ever…. 🙁

    3. libertarian
      April 30, 2015


      Well yes, but they are largely jobs for low paid workers

      No theyre not. I’m really sick and tired of the people on this site. No matter how much evidence, no matter how often you explain to people, no matter how many times you point them at google to just look they keep spouting the same nonsense.

      We get the politicians we deserve. If this is the standard of debate and thinking in a field I know well it makes me wonder how much rubbish is spoken about in other fields

      Oh and just so you all know the Government made NO contribution at all to the growth of jobs. They are still anti small business anti job, high tax. They were lucky being in the right place at the right time.

      4 years ago I was at a meeting with officials and politicians from BIS and I predicted this would be happening, they ALL sneered at me and told me I was wrong.

      We have a MASSIVE shortage of skilled workers in the UK. It is the BIG reason that none of the politicians will leave the EU, without the ability to easily import skilled workeds we are in big trouble.

      Those politicians telling you we would loose 3 million jobs if we left the EU are being disengenuous, they mean we will lose 3 million workers.

      Try thinking about this and not just being politically tribal. Look around you at the huge range of work that is done every day.

      1. John C.
        April 30, 2015

        Three points: 1) people worked in other countries before the E.U. was even imagined. Why on earth should it not happen after a Brexit?
        2) We never seem to ask ourselves how we have got to the stage of having to import workers from other countries in such enormous numbers. Whatever happened to our own education and training systems?
        3) Does anyone feel guilty at removing these workers from (usually) poorer countries which have presumably trained them? We send aid to assist other countries to get on their feet (in theory); at the same time we recruit some of their most able people. Seems a muddle to me.

        1. libertarian
          April 30, 2015

          John C

          EXACTLY that is the point I’m making. All those things need to be looked at but never are because people are obsessed with the WRONG view of the job market.

        2. alan jutson
          May 1, 2015

          John C

          Agreed the law of unintended consequences, we give aid to others to educate and train them, so that they and their Country can develop, then we steal them !.

          All seems expensive and daft, a bit like digging a hole, then filling it in again.

      2. Ken Moore
        May 1, 2015

        Perhaps you could show us a source to back-up your claim ?. I would expect to see payments of working tax credits not increasing substantailly since 2010 for example….

        The ONS say :-

        ‘The increase in total employment in the UK has been driven by the rise in self-employment’

        In the ‘key points’ the ONS observe :-

        ‘Average income from self-employment fallen by 22% since 2008/09’

        The government has made a contribution by continuing to subsidise low paid jobs that probably shouldnt exist aswell as making a life on benefits a little less attractive.

      3. petermartin2001
        May 2, 2015

        We have a MASSIVE shortage of skilled workers in the UK

        The reason everything of value has a price in our economy is because there’s a shortage of it. If there’s no shortage then why should anyone pay any price at all? If I’m only prepared to pay £2.00 for a pint of beer then I’m likely to end up quite thirsty in most of the pubs I know. But if I increase that to say £3.50 and there’ll be no shortage. That’s the same with everything: bread, houses, premier league standard footballers etc.

        So whenever we hear the phrase there’s a shortage of engineers, or there’s a shortage of electricians or whatever, we should also think there’s too few potential buyers who are prepared the going rate.

        Of course it’s in all our interests to encourage the skill level of our workforce. One of the key ways to keep that up is to ensure that everyone has a job and is learning on the job. Anyone who’s been out of a job for a while is likely to suffer from an element of de-skilling. In a good economy employers will recruit, not on the basis of existing skills, but on the basis that suitable recruits will learn quickly enough to make training worthwhile. That’s how I got my first career type job.

        Its been a long while since the job market was like that. Now there’s nearly always a long check list of whatever skills the employer needs. Failure to tick all the boxes usually means a failure of the job application no matter the potential of the rejected employee.

    4. REPay
      May 1, 2015

      Until our education system improves – which it is showing signs of doing…low paid jobs will be a feature of the recovery but a job is way better than no job! The excellent news is that these are not jobs in the public sector. The comparative unemployment rates across Europe makes a strong case for the Coalition. People forget how bad this recession might have been for employment. They also seem to have swallowed the canard that the bankers caused it…

      The Coalition’s consistent story is of real achievement and too little credit. Cf. Blair little achieved and a lot of positive spin.

  2. Mondeo Man
    April 30, 2015

    I’ve never doubted that a Tory government is better than a Labour one.

    But when you do get UKIP votes please please please don’t take for granted that they WANT to vote for your party and then sneer at how unpopular UKIP are.

    Their views are actually highly popular and are packed with common sense.

    They don’t. Your party has failed to address the #1 issue that is making lots of people worried. (How bad will the unemployment figures look in the next downturn now there are more people here ?)

    As the UKIP votes diminish and yours rise – because these people fear Labour, not because they like the Tories – it would be most unfair to absorb their votes and assume that they go with the Tory manifesto.

    Two things against the Tories:

    – we could have had a Eurosceptic landslide if Ukip had been accommodated.

    – the use of the word ‘apprenticeships’ for shelf stackers and baristas.

    How very pro EU, Blu Labour ! I expect to see the rise of the National Union of Nail Polishers, Car Washers and Baristas.

    1. libertarian
      April 30, 2015

      Mondeo Man

      Another person locked in the past. You have no idea about modern apprenticeships, how they work and why. There are a vanishingly small number of apprenticeships in very low end jobs.

      1. Mondeo Man
        April 30, 2015

        Libertarian – I’ve had a look at apprenticeships available close to me on the site.

        These are what the government allow to be advertised as apprenticeships:

        Apprentice Salesperson, Apprentice Care(home) Worker, Apprentice Chef (pub cook), Apprentice Tyre Fitter, Apprentice Administrator (office clerk)..

        There are real apprenticeships too, of course but they are fewer. The roles above used to be called Trainee – not Apprentice.

        With a real apprenticeship there needs to be a technical college to teach difficult to learn skills certification to enable the apprentice to do work that an untrained person cannot do without undergoing the same – otherwise a supply which is in excess of demand for that skill will mean that wages will remain low. And for some jobs the wages have to be low otherwise hamburgers and chips would become prohibitively expensive.

        I would not have been surprised to have seen Apprentice Chef for the local kebab house advertised on that site.

        1. a-tracy
          May 2, 2015

          I can’t see any problem with any of those jobs you mentioned being called apprentices, I would hope the person that changed my tyres was trained properly by competent instructors and measured on his skill. I just don’t see what your problem is in this modern world.
          Without apprentice sales people who will sell what we make, I want them trained properly in a framework of core skills and valued for those as well as increasing their self esteem.

          I believe in a meritocracy and I hope that the young apprentice tyre fitter aspires to be the best s/he can, maybe uses his level apprenticeship to get on a level apprenticeship and on and maybe own their own garage one day.

          I built myself up from scratch with a handful of O levels and CsEs and I resent your attitude to this modern apprentice scheme and it’s about time you got called out on your old fashioned views, I’m the sum of my experiences and every level of training often uncertificated that has contributed to helping me on my way.

          What exactly is your problem? I can’t understand why anyone would try to debunk any work based training. I employ other people and I value them, do you know how many laws apply to kebab shops?

          1. Mondeo Man
            May 3, 2015


            I say this for the benefit of other readers rather than you as you seem to be very difficult to get through to. (our exchanges which appear later in this thread.)

            I have no issue with people who fit tyres or serve kebabs. They are doing good work. But these are JOBS, not apprenticeships.

            For the final time my issue is with the government who tell us to vote for them because they claim their policies are creating high quality jobs and training – which they call apprenticeships.

            Why do you have such apparent difficulty in seeing what I’m getting at ?

            You insult everyone’s intelligence by giving equivallence between someone training for two weeks to be a tyre fitter and someone training for three years to be an airframe technician on Jumbo jets.

          2. Mondeo Man
            May 3, 2015

            PS, I have undertaken NVQ training for jobs that I didn’t need training for in the first place.

            The courses were short, insulting and hugely expensive. Mainly psychobabble and the instructions in the bleedin’ obvious.

            The trainer walked off with a big fat cheque for his consultancy firm – we ended up with a badge and a certificate that we didn’t need before.

          3. a-tracy
            May 3, 2015

            Better to train people for the jobs that are here and available and give them external day release training in core skills that are transferrable between jobs if they WANT to go on to level 2 and 3 training. There is no harm in calling someone that is training an apprentice tyre fitter, he isn’t going to be called an aircraft technician when he’s finished his training.

            So your problem is just with the word apprentice, you’re happier for them to be called YTS or nothing at all because their jobs aren’t worth anything to you. Now I understand.

            ps I’ve done a couple of NVQs too that I paid for, unlike you mine took two years each, lots of study, day release, proper external verification and I was able to use one to set up and run a successful business overseen by regulatory bodies.

          4. Mondeo Man
            May 3, 2015

            A-Tracy at 10.50

            The problem I have with the misuse of the word ‘apprentice’ is that it is a deception by the government perpetrated against the electorate. It gives a false impression of the quality of the jobs being created.

            “So your problem is just with the word apprentice, you’re happier for them to be called YTS or nothing at all because their jobs aren’t worth anything to you. Now I understand.”

            I am having serious misgivings about your (judgement ed)

            Dr Redwood. I’m sorry to get shirty with one of your contributors but he/she did impugn me first suggesting that I don’t care about low paid workers when, in fact, the exact opposite is the truth and should be obvious to all.

    2. Ken Moore
      April 30, 2015

      Choosing between Labour and Mr Cameron is rather like choosing whether to have ones arm or leg amputated..both deeply unsavoury choices.

  3. Lifelogic
    April 30, 2015

    The best way to help the unemployed into work is to ensure there is a substantial incentive to working over and above not working. After the costs of getting to work, childcare, having less time to shop efficiently etc. are all taken into account, there is often no such incentive to work at all for very many people.

    These unemployed are often behaving entirely rationally, given the idiotic system of incentives, tax and benefits that pertains.

    1. Iain Gill
      April 30, 2015

      Its 400 quid per child bus fare to school too, free if you’re claiming benefit. And boy is the system badly setup. You are allocated a school, and have no choice, yet you are only entitled to a bus to a closer school to which you were not allowed to select. A complete and utter joke.

      1. Lifelogic
        April 30, 2015

        Indeed that too.

  4. David Murfin
    April 30, 2015

    Since you mention Germany, what are its figures?

    1. agricola
      April 30, 2015

      Germany 4.7-4.8% according to Wikipedia in 2015.

      1. Jerry
        April 30, 2015

        @agricola; With a far stronger unionised workforce, something we have been told for the last 35 years causes high unemployment and/or the economy to be uncompetitive…

        1. Edward2
          May 1, 2015

          With minimal strikes in Germany, over that 35 year period, unlike our own unions.

          1. Jerry
            May 1, 2015

            @Edward2; Indeed, but that is because German management and unions are both prepared to make compromises, unlike here in the UK.

    2. petermartin2001
      May 2, 2015

      Germany is busy making the world’s cars and industrial equipment etc. They sell more to the rest of the world than they buy from the ROW to the tune of €220 billion in 2014. This figure is set to increase in 2015.

      So naturally they aren’t going to have a big unemployment problem. Nearly everyone in Germany seems quite happy about their big surplus. Except when I use the word ‘mercantilism’ to Germans they become uneasy. What effect does this have on your immediate trading partners in the EU I ask?

      I then point out that a trade surplus in euros means a deficit in real goods and services. What is the point of that I ask? What’s the point of swapping 5 sheep for 4 equally valuable goats and taking an IOU to make up the difference? There may be some point if the balance is corrected on the next trade but if its never corrected then Germany just builds up a mountain of IOUs which it can never use.

      So far, no-one has given me a sensible reason why the Germans behave like this, although I think I do know the answer.

  5. Richard1
    April 30, 2015

    This is of course the complete opposite of what was projected by the Labour Party and their various supporters, including the loud polemical ‘keynesian’ economists such as Paul Krugman, Danny Blanchflower etc. The Guardian continues to give Krugman a platform – and amazingly his message hasnt changed – it was a deception to tell people the deficit was a problem, the govt could and should have borrowed much more to ‘invest’ (more windfarms?) and then growth would have been much higher etc etc. Krugman and others forecast that the policy followed would result in stagnation and unemployment. Since it hasnt they are now claiming there was a secret change to a policy of stimulus in 2012/13 so they were right all along! This is the sort of thing which makes academic economics a joke. The evidence is plain and the big borrowing statist left need to acknowledge it: imperfect as this govt has been, it has stabilised the UK economy and generated a boom in employment which will be good news at all income levels.

    1. Lifelogic
      April 30, 2015

      The “BBC think” of economists who seem to think that governments taxing, borrowing and then pissing the money down the drain. On absurd lunacies like pointless wars, green crap grants, HS2, happiness indexes …… is a jolly good thing for the economy.

    2. libertarian
      April 30, 2015

      Richard 1


    3. acorn
      April 30, 2015

      Add up the budget deficits we have actually had in the last five years. Compare that to deficits Osborne planned to have, with zero deficit by this election year remember?. (Blanchard prediction was made on the latter basis). The difference is about £220 billion of additional government spending which strangely has generated a lot of jobs, Keynesian fiscal stimulus has a habit of doing that.

      The UK peaked at circa 955.1 million actual hours worked per week, in Feb 2008. Average hours worked per capita per week were 32.2. UK hit bottom in July 2009 with 910.7 and 31.4. It was up to 922.3 by the 2010 election. In Jan 2015 it was 997.9 and 32.1.

      So, at average hours worked that will come out at 2.34 million jobs. At FTE (Full Time Equivalent) which is circa 37.5 hours per week recently, that is 2 million jobs.

      1. Richard1
        April 30, 2015

        The higher than planned deficits were due to slower than expected recovery due to the eurozone crisis. Public spending has come in more or less as planned and public sector jobs cuts went ahead as planned. Where were all these so call Keynesians anyway when Brown was borrowing during a boom in a way Keynes himself would have had nothing to do with? I note Mr Miliband again tonight refused to accept that Labour borrowed and spent too much. If Labour lose the election, as I think they will, their deficit denial will be the reason for it.

        1. petermartin2001
          May 2, 2015

          The higher than planned deficits were due to slower than expected recovery due to the eurozone crisis

          Yes of course they were! Just like the times my train was cancelled to “staff shortages” or delayed because of “frozen points”!

          Call me cynical, if you like, but I tend to believe that Station announcers, like politicians have a list of semi-plausible excuses they work though to excuse the failure of real life to not quite work out as planned.

          So what could some of the other excuses have been? A lack of world growth, an unexpected rise (or fall?) in energy and commodity prices?

          Of course the truth is that the UK can never cut its budget deficit until it cuts its trade deficit too. Any Government trying to do that will just run its economy into depression. Fortunately George Osborne or one of his advisors , started to understand this just in time to give them just a slim chance in this coming election.

          1. Edward2
            May 2, 2015

            Its not the truth.
            Its just your personal economic theory.

          2. petermartin2001
            May 3, 2015


            If it’s anyone’s “personal economic theory” it would have to the that of the late Prof Wynne Godley of Cambridge University who did the original work on sectoral financial balances.

            The theory isn’t difficult. IMO. If money is leaving the economy to pay for imports and leaving the economy to pay surplus generating taxes for the Govt then its going to run out of money pretty quickly.

            But if you’re sceptical of theory, as you always should be in economics until it is substantiated, look at the real world evidence. Show me a country which simultaneously runs a budget surplus, or even a relatively small deficit, at the same time as substantial external deficit.

          3. Edward2
            May 3, 2015

            Its your theory, you prove it.

  6. Narrow Shoulders
    April 30, 2015

    Full time or not, too many of those jobs are subsidised by tax credits and housing benefit.

    If the job is not profitable it should not exist. Business would then adapt to improve productivity which in turn would improve employment.

    These subsidies mean we are competing with the subsidised over housing stock and other essentials with our own money thus paying twice in tax and increased costs.

    The sentiment of greater employmemt can not be disputed. The method is flawed.

    Why do European and other immigrants qualify for subsidies? If they are here by choice they should accept the default wage not receive the enhanced (subsidised) by the taxpayer top ups.

    1. Iain Gill
      April 30, 2015

      Yes, and the overly complex tax and benefits system should be radically simplified. Pay everyone enough to live on from a tax code which gives refunds if not working. Remove the need for complex benefits systems. Give those in special need, the disabled and so on, more by manipulating their tax code. Stop inventing ever more complex taxes and benefits, as the complexity itself sucks out too much money in admin.

    2. A different Simon
      April 30, 2015

      Narrow Shoulders ,

      Sorry but you have confused the symptom with the problem and consequently diagnosed the wrong solution .

      Quote “Full time or not, too many of those jobs are subsidised by tax credits and housing benefit.”

      Wages in the UK are amongst the highest in Europe and the highest in the World – there is no scope for increasing them without becoming uncompetitive .

      Neither productivity nor automation are going to get more people into work .

      The problem is not that wages are too low , rather that the cost of living is too high – specifically accommodation costs .

      It is mortgage lenders and landowners who are being subsidised by Govt policy which restricts the supply of new housing and increases the demand by relentless mass immigration – not employers .

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        April 30, 2015


        The cost of living is high because the benefits system give too many more money than they earn.

        Withdrawing the benefits (housing specifically but all top ups) would reduce the cost of living for all. Taxpayers would then not have to pay twice.

        I would say that productivity can put more people to work. The more competitive our companies become (through innovation, quality and productivity) the more they sell, the more they sell the more workers are required.

        1. A different Simon
          April 30, 2015

          I agree that redistribution of money to people who do not absolutely need it has enabled prices to rise .

          Furthermore it has meant that there is less for those people who need help most .

          However , many people cannot live without assistance and their main expense is accommodation .

          It’s a question of demographics .

          – Group 1: the over 50’s who own just about enough that they will fight to hang onto it . Will vote for the status quo of state maintained high accommodation prices and expect to live to 87 years and want an Eastern European to come over to care for them .


          – Group 2: the under 40’s owning nothing worth hanging on to . Destined to live in their parents spare room until they die , little prospect of a normal family life of their own but are expected to pay for group 1’s retirement .

          Group 1 need to loosen the reigns a bit and vote for less immigration , less nimbyism and a much freer planning system .

        2. Jerry
          April 30, 2015

          @Narrow Shoulders; “I would say that productivity can put more people to work. The more competitive our companies become (through innovation, quality and productivity) the more they sell, the more they sell the more workers are required.”

          Trouble is NS, these days “productivity” so often means either automation of the workforce (robots) or the off-shoring (to China, India etc.) of the workforce, far from decreasing unemployment it’s doing the exact opposite now.

          1. Narrow Shoulders
            April 30, 2015

            Is that what is happening in Germany then your outlook is inevitable and your gloom justified. I suspect that it is not happening in Germany.

            Innovation is the key, education not importing cheap labour to plug the “skills gap” (how much skill operating a till or serving coffee takes is anyone’s guess).

          2. Edward2
            May 1, 2015

            Showing how little you know or understand about engineering and manufacturing in the UK Jerry.
            It is growing and recruiting.
            Your post is like one from the 70s

          3. Jerry
            May 1, 2015

            @Edward2; “Your post is like one from the 70s”

            Unlike you comment that appears to come from Mars, unless the engineering and manufacturing you talk of are the companies supplying the automation that is supplying a shop floor full of machines that run 24/7 with perhaps one or two people per shift to over-see the entire operation.

          4. Jerry
            May 1, 2015

            @Narrow Shoulders; Germany has a falling working age population figure, hence why they actually need economic migration, the UK on the other hand has an increasing working age population even without economic migration (our problems are laziness and skills gaps due to poor education), thus Germany actually needs to automate their factories simply to stand still. Then of course both countries manufacturing/service economies are having to compete with far lower labour costs from the developing countries.

          5. Edward2
            May 2, 2015

            Not from Mars Jerry but from a lifetime in the industry.

            I don’t really care who or what you want to blame for the way UK manufacturing declined in the 70s and 80s.
            There have been many books written on the subject.
            Take your pick.
            Its all in the past now.

            But the UK manufacturing and engineering industry today is growing well and increasing employment greatly in a range of new business areas.

          6. Jerry
            May 2, 2015

            @Edward2; “Not from Mars Jerry but from a lifetime in the industry.”

            Non so blinds as those who choose not to see…

            “I don’t really care who or what you want to blame for the way UK manufacturing declined in the 70s and 80s.”

            Indeed, and Haddock is £10 lb, trouble is I’m talking about what is happening now in the second decade of the 21st Century…

            “But the UK manufacturing and engineering industry today is growing well and increasing employment greatly in a range of new business areas.”

            Well it’s not exactly difficult to increase a companies employment figures when they are new (or relocated) start-ups, but employing very few people, either because they are highly automated or basically nothing more than either final assembly (or worse still pre-despatch warehousing) having actually off-shored all or much of the actual engineering.

          7. Edward2
            May 2, 2015

            You are back to your usual personal abuse of anyone who has a different opinion to you Jerry.
            Its not big and its not clever.

      2. Jagman84
        April 30, 2015

        I have to disagree, A different Simon. I know from personal experience that many new, full time jobs, are via job agencies, where the rate offered is often as low as 60% of the full rate. Job security is poor and a hire and fire culture is prevalent. Such workers DO end up claiming in-work benefits.

        1. Striebs
          May 1, 2015

          Jagman84 ,

          Could you tell me which of the specific points I made are you disagreeing with please ?

      3. John C.
        April 30, 2015

        It is surely inevitable that housing benefits increase the cost of rents in the same way that easy borrowing (pre-crash) or minuscule interest rates (post-crash) allow house prices to soar. People can only rent with money they earn or are given. They can only buy with money they have (rare) or can borrow.
        We now have of course created an insoluble problem. We cannot increase interest rates or millions lose their mortgaged houses. We cannot stop subsidising rents through benefits or millions lose their rented properties.
        The price of interfering too much in the laws of the market place.

  7. JoeSoap
    April 30, 2015

    Comparing UK with the worst is a bad habit. I don’t want to be governed by a party which compares us with the worst.

    Where are the figures for Germany and the US? Singapore and Hong Kong?

    You want us to trade with the world so damned well compare us to the world, not just the worst of the EU which we all want away from!

    Reply I compared us to the main EU countries to show how much worse it could have been, and made clear that was what I was doing.

  8. nigel
    April 30, 2015

    JR: Where are the German figures? Please don’t give us solely those that compare unfavourable with the UK.

    Reply I said they were the one better set from the large EU countries on the continent. I don’t have them to hand.

  9. Ian wragg
    April 30, 2015

    And tax revenues are down, In work benefits are up
    For every highly paid banker immigrant there are 20 East European car washers and big issue sellers.
    I notice that all the UKIP posters are being removed or defaced around here
    It seems only limp dumb and Liebor are acceptable
    I would take those polls showing UKIP on 10% with a pinch of salt.

    1. John C.
      April 30, 2015

      Re Ukip. The almost desperate slurs on UKIP, the bullying harassment, the physical intimidation and the constant attempt to portray all UKIP supporters as old, poorly educated and clearly pitiable losers is a sign, not only that the real nastiness in Politics comes from the Left, but that the Left are scared of what is growing in opposition to them.
      Apart from Cameron’s ill-judged “fruitcake” remarks, the Conservatives do not show the same visceral hatred. I feel sure that had the Conservatives encompassed the Ukip philosophy (which is truer to conservatism than Cameronism is), they would be enjoying a comfortable majority by now.

      1. Mondeo Man
        May 1, 2015

        John C

        Have you read the Daily Mail for the past year or so ?

        The most visceral hatred for UKIP – particularly Nigel Farage – comes from them. So much so that they have made a laughing stock of themselves.

        No word of Nigel Farage’s excellent performance on TV last night. Just the usual smearing.

    2. Mondeo Man
      April 30, 2015

      And it takes 40 of those European car washers and Big Issue Sellers to cover the cost of one European prisoner.

      Then again – they pay no tax, do they ?

  10. Hefner
    April 30, 2015

    Disingenuous, record number with jobs, yes, but also record number of part-time jobs with people wanting to work full-time and having to accept work for less than 25 hours a week, and usually at low level of salary. So, JR, not really a lie, but a very particular way to present statistics! That’s politician’s dribble at their “best”!

    Reply Not so – most of the jobs are full time

    1. Jerry
      April 30, 2015

      @JR reply: “most of the jobs are full time”

      Yes indeed, many being ‘full time’ Zero hours contacts….

      Also at what point does part-time become full-time, to the JSA that is a mere 16 hours, for those wanting many of the in-work benefits it is 30 hours, for the majority of the uniformed Plebs I suspect they are thinking at least 39 hours per week – so Mr Redwood, care to define what you mean by the term “full time”?

      Oh and before the Tory party, especially ones who served past governments, gets smug about unemployment figures let’s not forget the numbers unemployed the UK suffered in the 1980s, we now being back to were the country was in the late 1970s. Be careful before attempting to gild-a-lilly, make sure that it is actually a lilly and not a common weed, worst still poison ivy!

      Reply Very few are zero hours contracts

      1. Ken Moore
        April 30, 2015

        ‘On employment, although the total number in work and the employment rate are both at record levels, the data shows this is largely due to a steep rise in self-employment, and the income from this kind of work has at the same time plunged. The scale of zero hours contracts also points to the underlying weakness in this area’.

        The Coalitions new Enterprise Allowance could have something to do with the growth in ‘self Employment’. Give people an ‘allowance worth £1274 over 26 weeks’ and they magically disappear from the unemployment register doing their bit for the ‘jobs miracle’.

    2. Ken Moore
      April 30, 2015

      Reply Not so – most of the jobs are full time

      There is no formal definition of what ‘full time’ working is’ so it is ripe for statistical manipulation in my view.

      The office of national statistics class full time work as workers doing as little as 30 per week.

      ‘ There is no specific number of hours that makes someone full or part-time’

      ‘Income support is a means-tested benefit. It is available to people that are not in full-time work. If you work 16 hours or less or your partner works less than 24 hours a week, you may be entitled to claim’.

      So for the purposes of benefit claimants, those working just 16 hours per week are classed as ‘full time’. It would be rather convenient if benefit claimants just over the 16 hour threshold were counted as working ‘full time’…

    3. libertarian
      April 30, 2015


      Total rubbish

    4. Hefner
      April 30, 2015

      Out of the 756000 jobs “created” in the last three years, more than a third are ” self-employed ” jobs for people aged 50+ not wanting to appear unemployed. How can any of the people on this blog, JR included, can prove to me that these are full-time employment?
      Lies, damned lies and statistics.

      What do people on this blog answer to Paul Krugman who claims that the UK economy only got better after mid-2012, once the worst of the intended austerity measures were put aside or relaxed?

      1. Edward2
        May 1, 2015

        Is this the same Krugman who like his pal Blanchflower a few years ago were confidently predicting a crashed economy with no growth and unemplyment of over 5 milliin for the UK in 2015?

        1. Hefner
          May 2, 2015

          Thanks for this red herring.

          1. Edward2
            May 2, 2015

            You are most welcome.
            Ironically your response is more of a red herring than my question to you.

  11. alan jutson
    April 30, 2015

    Have to say a vast improvement, no matter what the knockers say.

    A certain Mr Blanchflower I seem to recall predicted 5,000,000 would be unemployed.

    Seems he should be the one who is out of work and looking for a job so poor were his predictions for a so called professional.

    1. outsider
      April 30, 2015

      You are right Alan, as is Mr Redwood. The Conservatives really do have a good story to tell on jobs and unemployment. If so many of the jobs are low-paid, tax-subsidised or part-time, that does not undermine the value of what has been achieved.

      Rather, it reflects the low average productivity of the British economy. If the latest IMF 2014 estimates and their methodology are credible, real output per head in the UK is now noticeably lower than in Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Belgium and a marginal 1.3 per cent lower than in Finland and in France (our nearest comparator).

      This decline (and how to reverse it) is one of the really important issues that have played no part in the election debates because none of the main parties really have anything to say. But the Conservatives can at least take pride on jobs.

  12. They Work for Us?
    April 30, 2015

    Good news JR. that should be trumpeted from the housetops.
    But what on earth possessed Cameron to offer a law pledging no increases in income tax, vat or NI thus complicating matters and either tying his hands if elected or delivering an open goal to his enemies?
    Yesterday we had a court ruling on air pollution, based on EU standards that will nominally force the Govt to comply with measures that will affect a great number of people. In any sensible system where we govern ourselves the Govt would ascertain:
    Is there actually a problem based on objective scientific (not pressure group) advice.
    If there is a problem then is it localised or country wide? Where there is a problem
    what can sensibly be done, over time, to improve matters balanced against the need for people to travel .

    1. stred
      April 30, 2015

      This action was brought by ‘environmental’ lawyers and judged by lawyers, about EU law brought about by greens. In the UK, most diesel cars over the last 10 years have been fitted with particulate filters. Most araes over the limit are in heavily trafficed roads in towns, where older buses and taxis operate. The No2 emissions also are produced wherever combustion takes place.

      This will mean scarpping half the cars and vans in London and elsewhere. The so called efficient new petrol engines are not producing the economy figures claimed. Around 32% less is found in practice. What do environmentalists want- a 32% increase in CO2? THe figures on health are no more than estimates and the numbers of deaths in likely diseases are no more than 10 years ago. Dementia is up and, pedictably, some are now linking this to air pollution, rather than increasing old age.

      Someone needs to tear these arguments apart, using scientific analysis.

      1. sjb
        April 30, 2015

        In Wokingham, 5.7% of deaths are linked to air pollution; Westminster is worse at 8.3%.[1]

        see Table 1 Estimating Local Mortality Burdens associated with Particulate Air Pollution

        1. Ken Moore
          April 30, 2015

          Air pollution is becoming like the new global warming – a gravy train for environmental scientists.

          I have seen these reports and I’m not convinced they can adequately separate out other factors for ill health such as diet and ethnic make up. They have just latched onto the pm10 diesel particle bit following the Eu money trail.

          The final clue is that the graduates that write these things are confident enough in their findings to calculate the result to the nearest 0.1% which is laughable!.

        2. stred
          May 1, 2015

          The report refers to pollution caused by particulates- not NO2. They are proposing to ban cars and vans from cities, even though these have been fitted with particulate filters for the last 10 years and older ones could have them fitted. NOx cannot be filtered.

          Nitrous Oxide has been used as an anaesthetic and premium league footballers have been caught sniffing it. Deaths per head of various diseases are estimates. The only research on drivers in the most polluted areas, ie roads, was in Canada, before particulate filters came in to use. Even then they had to distinguish between smokers, as many drivers smoked at the same time. The science is tosh.

          1. sjb
            May 1, 2015

            NO2 “contributes to the formation of microscopic airborne particles, one of the many components of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) […]”[1]

            A point agreed by both parties in their previous encounter at the Supreme Court.

          2. Hefner
            May 1, 2015

            Nitrogen dioxide NO2, nitrous oxide N2O. The pollutant is NO2, and it is not a “laughing” matter.

          3. stred
            May 2, 2015

            Nitrous dioxide is an initial product, which then goes to NO2 in the engine, as I understand it. The two are lumped together and refered to as NoX. The studies on pollution refer to both and ozone. The Cansdian study, I think, refers to particulates and NoX. A small increase in disease was found. We need a study which eliminates anything but NO2, such as smoking, paticulates ans population demographics, such as age.

    2. alan jutson
      April 30, 2015

      T W f U

      I guess Cameron gave the promise to put it in law, because he thought nobody would believe him if he did not.

      Can really be no other reason.

      That he had to do it, really shows the low level of trust the people have in most politicians.

      But let us face facts, if there is no overall majority for any party, than all manifesto’s will not be worth the paper they are written on, as they bargain for power.

      This really has been the most awful campaign by most of the Political parties which are involved I have ever seen.

      For 5 years they have known the election date, but could only manage to get a manifesto launch with 3-4 weeks before voting a couple of weeks at most before the huge postal vote.
      Then we have had a whole series of bribes almost daily which were never in the manifesto.

      Most of the protagonists want to talk about the failure in everyone else instead of concentrating on their own policies.

      Most interviewers have been simply awful with a complete lack of knowledge of real facts and figures.

      No wonder the population are getting fed up !

      Two couples we know well who are away on holiday at election time have attempted to get a postal vote organised weeks ago and have been met with complete and utter confusion, obstruction and total incompetence.
      Neither have got their papers through yet although they were promised weeks ago.

      Both go away this weekend.

    3. Brigham
      April 30, 2015

      Good news JR. that should be trumpeted from the housetops.
      But what on earth possessed Cameron to offer a law pledging no increases in income tax, vat or NI thus complicating matters and either tying his hands if elected or delivering an open goal to his enemies.

      This is a foolish statement. Once in power every government does what it likes. If they don’t like a law, they will just change it for one they do like. If the electorate remembered anything at all, the labour party would be a thing of the past.

  13. oldtimer
    April 30, 2015

    This is indeed a very good outcome, far better than anyone predicted. It will not be helped if the next government decides it can “create” more jobs by raising the already bloated public spending plans. Unfortunately that seems to be the agenda that would be followed by a Miliband government supported by Sturgeon`s SNP MPs.

    More jobs will be “created” by the private sector if the next government improves its own operational efficiency including reform of the tax system and removes needless regulations.

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    April 30, 2015

    One slogan you do seem to have heard (unlike those about how 1% reduction in spending saves £25bn) is that your Conservative led government has created 1000 new jobs every day. Whether that will be sustained we shall have to wait and see. However, given that net immigration is 300,000 per annum and we are continually told that these people are coming here to work and we couldn’t run the NHS and a multitude of other organisations without them, how many jobs per annum will be ‘created’ for the 1.84 million still unemployed in this country?

    Reply The aim is to cut immigration over the next five years. As my figures show, there has been a large reduction in unemployment and benefit claims for unemployment over the last 5 years. Can you never see anything you like about our current lives or country?

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      April 30, 2015

      Reply to reply,
      You know full well that whilst we are members of the EU the government has no control over the quantity of immigration. Pretending otherwise does nothing for your credibility.
      The “large reduction” in unemployment was 660,000 (132,000 per annum). The jobs created were 2,000,000. Therefore 1,340,000 jobs did not go to reducing the unemployment count.
      I can see a much brighter future for this country – independent, self-governing and trading with the world.
      Your party’s leadership doesn’t share that vision and those within it who do put party allegiance before all else.

    2. JoeSoap
      April 30, 2015

      Reply to reply:
      Of course there are a few things this government has got right, from a very low base. It is good that we creating jobs, and some of the ways it is being done are good. There is more emphasis on making things over the past 5 years, rather than pumping money into the state to “invest” in rubbish services. There is some re-invigoration in apprenticeships. The free schools ideas seem ok. More freedom with pensions is ok, but is being done in a silly way because even those without enough to support themselves in old age are being told they can blow their pensions. Corporation tax and AIAs are better, but still not good enough. So, scratching around there are a few positives from the past 5 years, but from a very low base.
      The problem is that what COULD have been done, and what SHOULD now be being proposed by an incoming Tory government is so manifestly different in scale that your correspondents here by and large cannot vote for this “sitting on our hands” Tory approach again.

  15. Bert Young
    April 30, 2015

    Being employed is only as good as the future of the employing organisation , its prospects in a competitive setting and its ability to plan ahead . The many young individuals I meet and deal with are very bright and enter the employment world in a favoured condition – their intellectual talents are usually sought after . Sadly the majority of young setting out in life are not sought after and are not qualified for the tasks ahead .

    Scrapping the “false” Universities and the often silly courses they offer would be high in my order book were I responsible for Education . I definitely approve of the Apprentice system and its relationship to the real world . Training the young with a career objective is a badly needed motivation in our present society . Organisations supporting the Apprentice approach should be incentivised ; the end result would be stability in the employment numbers .

  16. Colin
    April 30, 2015

    So employment has risen by 2.2 million, but unemployment has only fallen by 700,000. Presumably the other 1.5 million new workers are either (a) immigrants, whom we didn’t really need as there are still 1.8 million people out of work, or (b) people who didn’t need to work five years ago – housewives, students etc. – who now need to take a job to make ends meet. Hmm…

    Reply What’s wrong with students and housewives deciding to get a job?

    1. agricola
      April 30, 2015

      Reply to Reply

      Nothing at all John. I recall working in the Christmas Post and as a porter at New Street station Birmingham. It funded my winter climbing in Glencoe.

      Same for housewives but working mothers do raise a fundamental point for debate. Some will work because they really love it. Others because they feel they have to; to contribute to the lifestyle their family choose to live, or just to survive.
      There is a downside, the latch key children, the using of microwave and takeaway food rather than cooking from fresh etc. The modern housewife is under a hell of a lot of pressure at all income levels so I think we should consider the long term social effect that this can have and it’s ultimate cost. The race to female emancipation was not all good news though in many respects very necessary.

      1. John C.
        April 30, 2015

        I suspect that it’s economic pressure more than feminism which leads to women seeking jobs. Mortgage repayments or rents for a family house are now based on 2 incomes coming in, one for housing, and one for all the rest. Single people are now expected to share or live in a poky flat or bedsit. No house for them!
        The result: breakup of family life, latchkey children, childcare costs etc. It’s been one of the key elements in the decline of the quality of living. And, oddly enough, I don’t think feminism is to blame- for this at least.

    2. Lifelogic
      April 30, 2015

      Indeed a job might well be far better for many students than many of the “degrees” they now study – at a cost of say £60,000 plus interest plus three years loss of earnings.

      1. JoeSoap
        April 30, 2015

        Better for whom?

        Not for many of them when half of it at least gets written off by the state, and probably more once inflation picks off the rest. Can we really see students being asked to pay £3K interest plus £3K repayment a year when interest rates return to a normal 5%?

        Perhaps also we could be told why we are still offering too many mickey mouse subjects taught by over-paid micky-mouse academics reporting to £200K plus a year Uni Chancellors?

        UKIP are making a start here by offering tuition-fee free courses for sensible subjects, where students would need to pay tax for some years here to qualify. We could also presume I think a sweep through of the state sector “academic” hierarchy and sweeping away useless courses if we got anywhere near power.

        Reply Students choose courses they think will be good and useful, and have to pay for them.

    3. JoeSoap
      April 30, 2015

      Reply to reply
      What’s wrong with the 1.8 million British out of work being given preference over immigrants? Why are we still paying benefits to 1.8 million people and importing folk to do the work, then subsidising them too? Either our incentives to work are skewed or our education system is not fit for purpose or both.
      4 years and 51 weeks… So much could have been done….

  17. Iain Gill
    April 30, 2015

    About a third of jobs creation has been due to house price hyping, completely unsustainable house price bubble, stoked at every opportunity by the governments of all parties in recent history. Estate agents, work on house refurbishments, and so on. These house prices are completely counter the best needs of the rest of country.
    About a third are public sector non-jobs, equality officers and all the rest, or workers of the consultancies or outsourcers working directly on public sector work (look like private sector but are not really).
    About a third are foreign nationals displacing Brits from the workforce by undercutting them.
    And a lot of people are off the unemployment statistics with various wheezes, “apprenticeships” in burger flipping and other such nonsense, completely devaluing the meaning of the word apprenticeship.
    I myself am pretty much as highly skilled as it’s possible to get, and I am out of work, as are lots of my friends, in a skillset the government is happily printing work visas like confetti for.
    So your post just looks like complacency, and will not attract support even from your natural supporters as they can see the reality.

    Reply Total public sector employment fell over the last five years. If people want to eat burgers it is an honest living to make and cook them. House prices fell sharply 2008-10.

    1. Iain Gill
      April 30, 2015

      The public sector permanent headcount maybe down but the departments are swarming with contact and consultancy workers

    2. Iain Gill
      April 30, 2015

      Yes burger flipping is an honest job. But a burger flipping apprenticeship is not equivalent to one in a genuine skilled trade. And many are called apprentice simply because a lower minimum wage applies.

      1. Mondeo Man
        April 30, 2015

        A burger flipping ‘apprenticeship’ is not an honest description.

        1. a-tracy
          May 1, 2015

          Why not? ‘Fast food cook’ may not take as long to train as other jobs but there are key skills to train in:
          1: Health and Safety
          2: Food Hygience
          3: Customer Services
          4: Personal Hygience and health
          5: Basic Cooking Skills
          6: First Aid

          Instead of sneering at these jobs I’m grateful for the people that do them and contribute to the economy.

          1. Mondeo Man
            May 1, 2015


            I am not sneering at the burger flipper.

            I am annoyed with the politicians who con the public by calling these trainees apprentices.

            If the policies were really working they wouldn’t have to do it.

          2. Jerry
            May 1, 2015

            @a-tracy; I think Mondeo Man’s beef (pun intended) is with the term ‘apprenticeship’, no one is saying that skills are not involved but if you are going to call burger flipping an apprenticeship then what do you call the time a trainee chef spends learning a far greater level of skills, a degree?…

            Anyone capable of being ‘trained’, given a good teacher, should be able to learn all the skills [1] (apart from Customer Service, that naturally needs on the job experience and guidance) within a week – hardly an ‘apprenticeship’…

            [1] and quite frankly much of what needs to be covered in your suggested “Personal Hygience and health” should be a pre-requisite of being accepted into a food industry job in the first place

          3. a-tracy
            May 1, 2015

            I’d like to see you teach a low skilled 16 year old all of those skills in depth in one week Jerry.

          4. Jerry
            May 2, 2015

            @a-tracy; But they do not need to know “in-depth”, they only need to be taught what they need to know to do the work they are being asked to do, how they are being asked to do it, that way they are less likely to try and ‘modify’ their instruction, just like any production line be that in the food industry or any other. Even if it took a month [1] that doesn’t equate to an ‘apprenticeship’, and much of what they need to know should have been taught in secondary school anyway!

            [1] unless a month of Sundays, but then perhaps such people should not be in the food industry to start with…

          5. a-tracy
            May 3, 2015

            Finally, because I can see you’re never going to change your mind on this.
            That apprentice fast food cook would get day release and as well as learning on the job he would receive training to enable him to go on to the next level should he choose to. I value every worker and I approve of day release and certificated apprenticeships for these jobs full stop. Like any qualification a prospective employer would weight every qualification appropriate to the position they have available.

      2. Edward2
        May 1, 2015

        One person I know who got his very first job with the world’s biggest fast food company started out “flipping burgers” as you put it.
        He is now nearly 30 and has a very well paid job in their management.
        They paid for him to go to college and their apprenticeship scheme was first class.

        1. Mondeo Man
          May 1, 2015

          He became a management trainee, not an apprentice.

          Otherwise, from a floor of 10 burger flippers, the government can claim the economy has generated 10 apprentices where only one might reach a manager’s grade.

          Learning to cook and serve a burger is not an apprenticeship. This work used to be classed as a dead-end job – and for most it still is.

          1. a-tracy
            May 1, 2015

            If everyone stopped doing all of these dead end jobs how would you exist?

          2. Edward2
            May 2, 2015

            Easy to be dismissive.
            Many in engineering started as factory labourers before getting into the toolroom or the drawing office and being sent to college to gain further skills.
            Its the same in hotel catering, restaurant trade and tourism.
            We can quibble about the meaning of the word apprenticeship.
            Todays cynicism in calling anyone working in catering a burger flipper is the same engineering faced years ago when the industry was referred to as metal bashing by those who knew no better.

          3. Mondeo Man
            May 2, 2015

            I simply cannot believe we have reached a point where I am having to argue that training to serve hamburgers is not an apprenticeship.

            Where university students used to do flip burgers to fund studies to become engineers they now go to university to become burger flippers !

          4. Jerry
            May 2, 2015

            @Mondeo Man; “Learning to cook and serve a burger is not an apprenticeship.”

            Indeed, 40 years ago most would have called it Life Skills! But then this issue is not just about the UK inflating (often) basic work-skills training into an “apprenticeship” but then giving such basic work-skills jobs inflated job titles.

            “This work used to be classed as a dead-end job – and for most it still is.”

            For many such work has, traditionally, never been seen as a ‘career path’ and still isn’t, hence why above average numbers of school leavers and degree students etc. take such jobs and why ever now many of these fast food outlets have a very high level of staff churn.

          5. Edward2
            May 2, 2015

            And I cant believe you still think anyone employed in todays catering industry is a burger flipper, mondeo.

          6. a-tracy
            May 2, 2015

            Mondeo Man and Jerry what on earth difference does calling a one year traineeship an apprenticeship? For goodness sakes Employers are savvy enough to recognise the difference and if it gives the child a status for his basic level job then good.
            What is the apprenticeship certificate for? In my world it would say s/he is competent at level 1 in all of those performance criteria I mentioned above, it doesn’t say he’s an engineer, gas fitter or plumber does it! But it may just allow the ladder to open up to them to get on a level 2 apprenticeship as a sous chef in a restaurant that they wouldn’t have been able to get with an A level in an unrelated subject.

            I hate this sort of condemnation of low skilled jobs, be realistic there are not enough high skilled jobs and some people don’t want them and are actually happy living their life in these jobs and feel valuable and worthwhile, my Nan was a cleaner her entire life, finally for a hospital, just be glad she never wanted to be anything other than a cleaner but thank goodness she did and was proud of her job, she did do a thorough ”apprenticeship’ on the job and if this modern apprentice certificate gives the cleaning apprentice of today a status just what is your problem? it’s not going to get them hired as an engineer is it?

            I started on a YTS a youth training scheme, in those days we didn’t get day release or a certificate, my husband did a four year apprenticeship with a blue chip neither of us see any problem with this modern apprenticeship at all and if it helps people who weren’t capable of getting good GCSEs at school to get on the next rung of the employment ladder or a bit of status and self worth, then GOOD.

          7. Jerry
            May 2, 2015

            @Edward2; “Todays cynicism in calling anyone working in catering a burger flipper is the same engineering faced years ago when the industry was referred to as metal bashing by those who knew no better.”

            A bit like how, these days in the UK employment sector, Janitors are now being given job titles such as “Cleansing Engineers” or “Hygiene Engineers” etc. you mean? Oh how the worm has turned…

            Where is the Campaign for plain English when we need it, or the German law that regulates who can call themselves an “Engineer” 🙁

          8. Mondeo Man
            May 2, 2015

            a-tracy, Edward 2

            You miss my points entirely and you accuse me of snearing at working people which I am most definitely not.

            The government is declaring 50,000 apprenticeships will be created, so we should vote for them.

            It is, therefore, important that we determine what they mean by ‘apprenticeship’.

            On the site I visited a trainee tyre fitter or filing clerk can be classed as an apprentice.

            Yes. One job can lead to another (as – with some effort – it did for me) but the jobs themselves have minimal training and are not apprenticeships.

            The present use of the word ‘apprentice’ is stretching credibility somewhat and I am in a state of utter disbelief that you can disagree.

          9. Edward2
            May 2, 2015

            Funnily enough I have a friend who started his own business after training as a tyre fitter and now is a millionaire in that industry.
            He reckons his teenage apprenticeship got him the skills both practical and commercial to get where he is today.

          10. Mondeo Man
            May 3, 2015

            Reply to Edward 2 at 11.36

            The vast majority of tyre fitters are poor and – if with family – will be in receipt of in-work top-ups. Which is probably why your friend is a millionaire.

            The government subsidised his staff’s low wages.

            And the reason why tyre fitters aren’t paid very much ?

            Because there are lots of people ready to step in their shoes when they get sick of the low pay.

            And the reason why there are lots of people ready to step into their shoes ?

            Because it doesn’t take much training. ie it does NOT require an apprenticeship to do the job.

          11. Jerry
            May 3, 2015

            @Edward2; “Funnily enough I have a friend who started his own business after training as a tyre fitter and now is a millionaire in that industry.”

            I might know him, I’ll have to ask my business friends which, if any know, someone called Edward who works in engineering ! 🙂

            “He reckons his teenage apprenticeship got him the skills both practical and commercial to get where he is today.”

            Seriously though you still miss the point, I was training the part-time tyre fitters in the company I was then working for whilst I was still going through my (proper) Motor Engineering apprenticeship some 40 or so years ago – tyre fitting is a relativity low skilled job (even today), something learnt in months not years – hardly an “apprenticeship”, although it might well be part of a much wider and deeper training regime and skills-proving/examination process.

          12. Edward2
            May 3, 2015

            Well now you are on a socialist inequality rant mondeo
            Wicked bosses expoliting workers blah blah blah

            Please define apprenticeship.

          13. Edward2
            May 3, 2015

            Its not me Jerry.
            Yes I understand the difference between basic training and a four or five year apprenticeship.
            I just think you and mondeo miss the point in that young people regard 4 or 5 years of low wages plus two nights at college as very 1970s
            Even the mention of the word apprentice puts off young recruits.
            Industry has moved on as has education.
            You forget that when UK industry employed millions only a small percentage did apprenticeships the vast majority did repetitive, labouring hard jobs.

          14. Jerry
            May 3, 2015

            @a-tracy; “For goodness sakes Employers are savvy enough…”

            …to know how to ‘lead’ impressionable youth into taking a low paid job that appears to give valuable training, whilst governments love such “modern apprenticeships” as they boost the figures as to how many are in apprenticeship (which most still think of as the traditional sort, and the more worthy still are), yet the reality is the training is often basic at best and utterly worthless (beyond the doorstep of the company offering it) at worst with non-transferable skills.

            “But it may just allow the ladder to open up to them to get on a level 2 apprenticeship as a sous chef in a restaurant that they wouldn’t have been able to get with an A level in an unrelated subject.”

            I assume you are talking about Mondeo Man’s “burger flipping apprenticeships”, might I suggest that if they are minded to become a chef, work hospitality or even just work for a food processing company then such school levers might be better off enrolling directly at a college on a level 1 food hygiene course and then from there find both employment and training in a restaurant and at college or were ever, something the college is likely to be able to help with as that is often were such employment opportunities are offered or heard about first. On the other hand if they want a career in the fast-food industry than do as you suggest…

            “I hate this sort of condemnation of low skilled jobs”

            No one is condemning anyone, all we are suggesting (for the good of everyone) is that a spade is called a spade, on-the-job training is on-the-job, an apprenticeship is an apprenticeship, both give valuable but different skill-sets.

            [my emphasis] “What is the apprenticeship certificate for? In my world it would say s/he is competent at level 1 in all of those performance criteria I mentioned above, it doesn’t say he’s an engineer, gas fitter or plumber does it!

            In my world, and indeed my apprenticeship certificates declare that my knowledge has been tested externally to a level of expertise that means I am competent to work within the specified fields of Motor Engineering (are you getting confused between apprenticeships and HND style Degrees courses?) so YES it does – by name and is/was a recognised skilled professional certification! Not only that but will often go a lot further, detailing additional knowledge that allows for additional competencies, for example specific knowledge that a motor engineer is competent in managing a workshop/garage business, or a gas-fitter is competent to work on pressurised hot water/heating systems. Sorry but I don’t think you actually have the first idea what a proper apprenticeship is. My first test would be if the training includes any external (college) learning, the second is if an external test or assessment is involved, even if that is observational assessment by a college tutor, if neither of those two tests are meet then the training being given is nothing more than in-house work based and not an apprenticeship.

            “I started on a YTS”

            Oh yes, those Youth Training Schemes, the start of the dumbing down, that is not to say some schemes were not excellent (I knew someone who started a very successful career on the railways via one back in the 1980s) but many were utter tripe, in my own automotive field it was often quicker, cheaper (and less frustrating for those from the YTS) to assume that they knew nothing specific about our needed skill-sets even though they had been ‘playing’ with motor cars, the technically astute thrived, the rest soon fell by the wayside… 🙁

          15. Edward2
            May 3, 2015

            Ive read this long post but I do not see what actual point you are trying to make Jerry.

            Have you any examples of “totally worthless, non teansferrable skills”?

            And you are wrong about on the job training. It is commonly externally verified by training bodies like the NVQ qualification scheme.

            And you are wrong about food industry staff training.
            Getting a hygene certificate is a something everyone who handles food needs first before they get involved.

            The thing you forget is just going to college is expensive and un waged
            Getting on the job training means a weekly wage which can be vital for many youngsters.

          16. Mondeo Man
            May 3, 2015

            Edward 2 at 6.50

            Well let’s take your point that I am out of date on the use of the word ‘apprenticeship’.

            (As it happens I am not and that is why I am questioning the change in its use.)

            It is a deliberate sleight against an ‘out of date’ mature public who don’t know the difference and were told only last week that this government will fund 50,000 new apprenticeships.

            They would probably think along the same lines as I do – if only they knew.

            You yourself say this:

            “Industry has moved on as has education.
            You forget that when UK industry employed millions only a small percentage did apprenticeships the vast majority did repetitive, labouring hard jobs.”

            Don’t you think the government has a duty to tell them that the definition has changed ?

          17. a-tracy
            May 5, 2015

            Jerry “might I suggest that if they are minded to become a chef, work hospitality or even just work for a food processing company then such school levers might be better off enrolling directly at a college on a level 1 food hygiene course”

            You know Jerry for many college just isn’t an option or what they want to do, they’d prefer to work and earn, why didn’t you go to University full time and get a degree? How do you feel about people that did go university and get engineering degrees who considered themselves ‘proper engineers’?

          18. a-tracy
            May 5, 2015

            They are called ‘modern apprenticeships’ even if the skill that is learnt is a lowly skill in your opinion (i.e. how not to give someone e-coli or salmonella is quite important to me), or manage excel spreadsheets, use Word to an appreciated level, a modern apprentice Administrator doesn’t become an accountant but at least now, unlike the old YTS schemes they get a transferable skill certificate at level 1 or 2 or 3 in their trade. This ‘trade’ as a salesman or woman, as one of the examples you stated, may not be important to you but it is to me and I hire people with NVQ level 3, 4 and 5’s in sales. Actually my last recruit was a degree student , his boss trained on the job as an ‘apprentice salesman’ after being wait for it a ‘driver’ at the start of his career.

          19. Jerry
            May 6, 2015

            @a-tracy; @Edward2; Both your arguments seems to be at the same nonsense level as Labours 50% of school levers sho9udl go to Uni’ what ever their ability is’, thus we have either worthless or devalued degree courses and apprenticeship.

          20. Edward2
            May 6, 2015

            That is not the correct quote Jerry
            Mr Blair had an aim for 50% of young people to go to University
            He never said “whatever their ability”
            I’m no fan of Mr Blair but his aim of improving the skill levels and qualification levels of our young people so the UK coukd better compete with world competition was a good one.

  18. A different Simon
    April 30, 2015

    Off topic , on the front page of todays Daily Telegraph there is a column stating that the UK may have to phase out diesel engined transport .

    In the first paragraph it refers to a decision by “THE Supreme Court” .

    How revealing that the political class are now referring to “THE European Supreme Court” as “THE Supreme Court” .

    Even calling it the European Supreme Court rather than the EU Supreme Court seems to be stretching the truth .

    It might be their supreme court but it certainly is not mine .

    Reply: The judgement was in the UK Supreme Court, not the ECJ. I think your disagreement on this occasion should be with the EU laws that are part of the background to the case, not the origin of the judges and location of the court making the decision.

    1. Hope
      April 30, 2015

      That would be the competence given away by UK Parliament to the EU. Then for the UK Parliament to enact the EU’s wishes without obstacle irrespective whether it benefited this country or not.

  19. A different Simon
    April 30, 2015

    Without doubt the level of unemployment in the UK is lower than most of EuroZone ; even accounting for differences in measuring .

    Wages in the UK are substantially higher than most of the EuroZone and cannot be raised without making the country uncompetitive yet more than three quarters of people in work are falling behind .

    If the cost of accommodation in the UK could be halved , then the sums might work out at household level and we could have a vibrant economy and more small businesses and livable pensions .

    Popping of the housing bubble is surely the only way to get the economy back on track .

    1. JoeSoap
      April 30, 2015

      As most here were saying 5 years ago, before Help to Buy, Help yourself to Housing benefit and other government schemes to jack up house prices.

  20. English Pensioner
    April 30, 2015

    From your figures, there are 660,000 less people looking for jobs than five years ago. But 2.2 million jobs have been created. If we assume that the number of retirements is roughly of the same order as the number of school leavers, that means that there are another 1.5 million workers whom one must assume are immigrants, unless, of course it is housewives, etc, who are being forced to work because the family can no longer make ends meet.
    Frankly, whilst it is nice to see rising employment, most of these jobs appear to be at the lower end of the market with many better jobs and sought after workers now leaving the country.

  21. ChrisS
    April 30, 2015

    Most of us would regard Germany as our biggest competitor in Europe so it’s disappointing that the German figures were not included in the table.

    For the record, The unemployment figure for February 2015 is 4.8%, putting the UK second in the table rather than first.

    (I was unable to track down an accurate figure for the rate of employment)

    Nevertheless, the figures are yet another reason why, given the progress made in the last five years, the Conservatives should be way ahead in the polls rather than languishing in the low 30s, just neck and neck with Labour under their hapless leader.

    There has to be an explanation for this. I suspect it is the public school background of David Cameron and many in the cabinet that simply doesn’t resonate with the public.
    Frankly, it makes the party look elitist and whatever Cameron says or does, the general public doesn’t relate well to him.

    If I’m right, it’s very unlikely that George Osborne or Boris would achieve a significant improvement. Perhaps Teresa May or Philip Hammond would be better choices, both, like Margaret Thatcher and John Major, having been Grammar School educated ?

    Philip Hammond certainly has a lot of the low-key attributes of John Major and his considerable wealth has been made as a result of his own efforts and abilities.

    Teresa May would certainly do wonders for attracting the female vote and crucially has an ability like Margaret Thatcher to appeal to male voters in a way that is precisely the opposite effect Harriet Harmon has for Labour.

    Whatever the outcome of the election, we know that the Conservatives will need to decide on a new leader by 2019 at the latest. If the party is to have any hope of regaining the popularity it would be wise to look for another state educated leader. After all, its only truly successful leaders in the last forty years were both from a Grammar School background.

    The solution to returning to a healthy level of social mobility looks pretty obvious, doesn’t it ?

    Reply I did point out that Germany has a decent record on unemployment

    1. JoeSoap
      April 30, 2015

      Erm, how many Grammar Schools has this government created? There soon won’t be enough ex-Grammar School kids to choose the leader from! I think the Tories prefer Private and Comps. Top and Bottom. There is only one party promising the return of Grammar Schools.

  22. Denis Cooper
    April 30, 2015

    JR, please could you restate your UK figures excluding all those persons who were not present in the UK when Labour left office in 2010, apart from those UK citizens who happened to have been abroad at that time but have since returned, but including those UK citizens who have since left the country either permanently to seek a better life in a new homeland, or temporarily on some kind of secondment or job contract abroad.

    Reply I do not have the figures to do that!

    1. Denis Cooper
      April 30, 2015

      Well, JR, you know what I’m driving at.

      What you refer to as “UK employment” in your title is not quite the same thing as “employment of UK citizens”; but the responsibility of the UK government elected in May 2010 was to UK citizens, not to other people who were not UK citizens but who could be given work in this country in the hope that they would increase the income of the government more than they increased its costs.

      1. Mondeo Man
        April 30, 2015

        Coveted jobs – with training and good pay – are being handed to new arrivals in a way that the Germans and French would never accept.

  23. agricola
    April 30, 2015

    Totally off piste but apposite to the election. I note that Alexander has decided to reveal confidential cabinet acquired information relating to future spending cuts. After the boundary fiasco, and reneging on the referendum I am not surprised. Any future conservative government should take note that (working with Lib Dems ed) has it’s consequences.

    Reply Not information – disinformation

    1. agricola
      April 30, 2015

      Question. Is the disinformation in the content of what the Lib/ Dems released or is it a reality that they released nothing at all. If the latter what are the Daily Mail and the Telegraph doing by reporting it. My edited comment on entering into a relationship with the Lib/Dems still holds good.

      Reply It appears that Mr Alexander (Lib Dem) commissioned options for cuts from the Treasury which included a lot of Child Benefit cuts which the Conservatives turned down, as doubtless he also did. He now claims these are Tory cuts!

      1. agricola
        April 30, 2015

        Understood and thank you for the clarification. my comment on the integrity of the Lib/Dems holds good. Put another way, you cannot take the Queen’s shilling and fight for the enemy, so caveat emptor in any future alliances.

    2. sjb
      April 30, 2015

      Cameron has stated that there are to be £12 billion of welfare cuts so unless he has got his figures wrong again[1] he must know how these are to be obtained.

      Bearing in mind many of your contributors are likely to require personal care during the next Parliament, perhaps you might wish to make it clear whether you would support, say:
      (a) Attendance Allowance becoming taxable and/or means-tested; and
      (b) eligibility for Carer’s Allowance being cut back by 40%?


  24. Roy Grainger
    April 30, 2015

    The assumption, which no-one has challenged, is that the increase in employment was a result of UK government policy and not, for example, linked to an improving world economy or to bad policies by our EU neighbours. I’m sure if the employment numbers had decreased then similar factors would have been trotted out to show it was nothing to do with the UK government.

  25. margaret brandreth-j
    April 30, 2015

    Good news . Ihope that accurately reflects a good quality of employment.

  26. A different Simon
    April 30, 2015

    The unemployment rate in the European Union as a whole may be 11.3% but for youth it’s up at 21% . By country
    – Greece over 50%
    – Spain 50.1%
    – Italy 43.1%
    – France 24.4%
    – Ireland 21.1%
    – UK 15.6%
    – Germany 7.2%

    Is the UK actually doing better than France ? Or could the higher proportion of 18-24 year olds in education in the UK be masking an underlying developing youth unemployment problem ?

    Spain , Greece and Italy really are clearly risking a lost generation and in very dangerous territory .

    Mass immigration and ICT visas are going to make it more difficult for Briton’s to get started – and pay off their huge education debts .

    Extending the working life at the top end is surely going to have effects on those wishing to join at the bottom end .

    Surely it would be better to tackle the cost of accommodation so that people did not have to spend so much of their life working ?

    The UK’s obsession with bricks and mortar will kill it unless a real statesman comes along to convince people to vote for policies which cause their primary asset to fall in value .

    1. JoeSoap
      April 30, 2015

      Clearly very complicated when Greek, Spanish, Italian students can go to Uni off the backs of the UK taxpayer in Scotland then graduate and compete with our graduates in England – yes the ones repaying £60K of debt out of their salaries!

  27. ian
    April 30, 2015

    I think your selling your self short on the number of jobs created, i think it is more.
    UK retail sale march -0.5 should been +0.4.
    If you go to a credit agency and for a fee they will phone your bank or credit card company and take 20% to 50% off your debt if your credit score is fair or below and you are max out, so you can carry on shopping.

  28. a-tracy
    April 30, 2015

    What are the unemployment rates in the UK’s four nations

    N Ireland

    Also could Scotland put up Council tax just in Scotland to increase their spending on their local services police, fire, schools, social housing spending or are they capped by Westminster? Wouldn’t this be the best policy for the socialist spenders to achieve their goals put up their local taxes to spend on local services? They don’t need Westminster to agree a mansion tax do they? If the Scottish people want Labour and SNP left wing government then let them pay for it.

  29. John
    April 30, 2015

    These excellent employment figures are well known to you but insufficiently appreciated by the public. In the remaining week is it not possible to highlight them in simple bold form accompanied by a football chorus of -we are top of the league and- champions of Europe ,that’s what we are. That should wake a few people up including our UKIP friends. The contrast with high taxing highly regulated France under its failed socialist government could scarcely be starker. Mr Miliband was once an admirer of M Hollande. He should be asked what went wrong in France with socialism and why would the same policies on tax work here.

  30. Dennis
    April 30, 2015

    No one has pointed out nor asked, how many jobs can the environment/resources be expected to support withour damaging everything?

    If this is not perceived to be a problem why not advise people to become richer just by increasing their regular withdrawals from their bank accounts to have more money in their pockets?

  31. petermartin2001
    April 30, 2015

    I would say a partial success story.

    The problem is that many of these created jobs are of dubious quality. They don’t pay very much.

    A complete success story will be complete when the income derived from these jobs is sufficient to enable those workers to be able to afford the necessities of life without help from other taxpayers.

    The government needn’t seek foreign demand for the output of its economy by giving too much encouragement to the super rich to settle in Britain. Rather, it should ensure that its own residents can afford to purchase the outputs that they have created.

    1. Edward2
      May 1, 2015

      Your vision sounds like the one East Germany tried.
      A siege economy cut off from the world rejecting wealthy people who want to come and live in the UK
      Trading between ourselves instead of with the whole world.

      First you criticise unemployment levels and say something must be done.
      Now we have created 2 million extra jobs in 5 years you say oh but they are not very good jobs.
      Start your own new company then Peter and employ a few hundred on top money.

      1. petermartin2001
        May 1, 2015


        What about North Korea? Why leave them out of your argument?

        The theory has been that the super wealthy arrive in Britain to use their wealth for the benefit of all. But does it really work out like that? What if they decide to buy up all the empty houses in the street? Or even if they buy up the whole street, knock it down and build an expensive gated community. So instead of young people being able to afford to buy those houses as first time buyers, they are forced to rent and make the wealthy even wealthier.

        The old British ruling class has lost much of its influence in the last twenty years or so. They are being replaced, or have been replaced, by a new international ruling class who have little or no loyalty to this country. They are here for the tax advantages the UK offers, but while they are here they are busily working out how they can become even richer. We’d be naive to think otherwise.

        They are busy buying up key assets. It’s not just football clubs! It’s the key pillars of the economy, land and housing stock.

        1. Edward2
          May 2, 2015

          Ive never heard of that theory.
          The question which again you fail to address is how are you going to stop people moving from one nation to another?
          Unless you develop a seige economy and ban the rich from settling here.
          Would you still allow the poor in?

          1. petermartin2001
            May 2, 2015


            You ask “how are you going to stop people moving from one nation to another?”

            That already happens. Migration from non-EU countries is controlled. The question is: should different rules be applied to the wealthy?

            Should the UK offer attractive tax arrangements such as non-dom status?

          2. Edward2
            May 2, 2015

            Well it it said to bring £8 billion per year to the UK so yes.

  32. petermartin2001
    May 2, 2015

    I was just thinking that elections are marvellous things. If we look at the history of various Parliaments, it is nearly always the case (with a few possible exceptions like the impact the GFC caused in 2008) that the second half of the Parliament is economically more successful than the first.

    Why is that? The neoliberals would no doubt argue that the imposition of unpleasant medicine has to take place in the first couple of years to create the benefits for the later years.

    But, of course, there is an alternative explanation. That is that Governments often start off with policies which are very ideologically based. Then after a couple of years it becomes apparent to all that they aren’t working. The opinion polls predict electoral disaster. Panic sets in. The phrase ‘there is no alternative’ TINA becomes ‘maybe there is an alternative after all’. Let’s look at what has worked in the past and do that instead. Pragmatism becomes the new line. Only in private of course! The imperative to win that next election trumps all other considerations.

    So if the Tories win government , or a part of government, and carry out their economic plans of freezing spending and trying to force the a reduction in the deficit I predict a couple of years of economic slump. When the half time whistle blows there will be a change in team tactics. Then there will be an improvement in performance.

    If I’m wrong about that just let me know in a few years time and I’ll buy you a drink! But why wait until half time? Why not get it right from the start?

    Reply The Coalition increased spending more in the first two years than in the last three, so your thesis is wrong

    1. Edward2
      May 2, 2015

      You are also wrong in your thesis that the Conservative are planning to freeze spending.
      The manifesto and current budget figures show spending continuing to rise over the next 5 years.

      1. petermartin2001
        May 2, 2015

        I hope I am wrong, but JR himself used the phrase “Spending is effectively frozen for the first couple of years”.

        See his recent post titled “The Next Five Year Plan”.

        With inflation, and growth ,as low as they are it makes little difference whether that’s in cash terms, real terms or as a percentage of GDP.

        It is, of course, acceptable for a democratically elected government to freeze or even reduce public spending if it has a mandate to do that. However, from a macroeconomic perspective, it should also reduce taxation commensurately, to maintain aggregate demand and prevent the economy spiralling into recession.

        Any attempt to force a reduction in the government deficit, by restraining spending, but keeping taxation high, will be counterproductive. A depressed economy delivers less revenue to Govt.

        1. Edward2
          May 2, 2015

          From c£740 billion to c£792 billion in 5 years strikes me as an increase.

          1. petermartin2001
            May 3, 2015

            £740 billion to £792 billion represents a compound increase of 1.8% p.a over 5 years.

            So, if inflation is higher than that (on average over the period) it will represent a decrease in real spending power. If growth is higher that that it will represent a reduction of the percentage of GDP spent by govt.

            Mr Redwood was specifically referring to a spending freeze over the first two years, but no taxation reduction, which ties in with my claim that Govts often waste the first couple of years finding out that their ideologically pre-determined economics plans don’t generally work very well.

            This won’t be any exception. Unless taxation levels are reduced there will be a slump.

            I would have thought you would have agreed with me that lower taxes were necessary to stimulate the economy. You might call it Reaganomics, I’d consider it basic Keynesianism.

            reply Once again you leave out the private sector which will grow over that 2 years, resulting in overall growth

          2. Edward2
            May 3, 2015

            Inflation is currently close to zero. It shows little signs of increasing.

            Your theory seems to be based on just the State being the engine of growth based on ever more spending.
            Perpetual Keynesian deficit stimulous.

            It is as if the private sector cannot generate anything without a parental State holding its hand and spoon feeding it pocket money.
            Plainly wrong.

          3. petermartin2001
            May 3, 2015

            “It is as if the private sector cannot generate anything without a parental State holding its hand and spoon feeding it pocket money.” ??

            No. This is a misrepresentation of the argument. The private sector will grow and will help provide the prosperity we all need but it needs government to play its part too and create the right conditions for that growth to occur.

            A larger economy needs a larger pool of of money. That, ultimately, can only come from government unless exports suddenly boom which is unlikely given world trading conditions.

            Encouraging the private sector to create that extra money on its own is problematical. Private banks can only create asset /liability pairs. The asset half of the created pair ends up being taxed away by government on the first and subsequent transactions leaving behind the liabilities. The Result? Too much debt in the private sector which kills off enterprise – stone dead.

            Of course governments shouldn’t overdo it and create too much money too quickly. The time to back off spending, and raise taxes is when inflation is the key problem. Not now.

            It’s plainly correct. The economic history of the western world shows that growth is hampered when government applies the fiscal brakes, but is encouraged when the government presses the fiscal accelerator.

            Reply You just do not understand how the private sector grows and creates credit and liquidity. The state does not yet tax away all the extra revenue generated by private sector led growth.

          4. petermartin2001
            May 5, 2015

            If interest rates were currently significantly higher than they are, I would understand how the private sector could grow, without government’s direct funding, by creating credit and liquidity. All the Government would need do, or its independent Central Bank a.k.a, the Bank of England, if you prefer, would be to lower interest rates.

            But, you’re right. I don’t understand how that might be possible right now, with interest rates as low as they are. Paul Krugman would say there’s the special case of the ‘zero bound’, I’d argue that sooner or later there’s also going to be that special case if there’s an over reliance on the use of interest rate reductions to stimulate the economy.

            Reply It’s happening in both the US and UK.

          5. petermartin2001
            May 6, 2015

            The private sectors in both the UK and USA are growing but that’s not entirely without government financial assistance in the form of deficit spending. Those deficits are smaller but they, and the higher previous deficits, are also still having an effect. Then there’s the effect of QE which although having ended is still working its way through the system.

            In the UK there has also been a mini-credit boom in the last couple of years which has led to an increase in the stock market and also has had a positive effect on property prices and property development, especially in the SE.

            This looks like it’s all not-so-slowly coming to an end. So, it can’t just be assumed that the 2+% growth will continue even if spending is frozen for the next two years. I’m saying it won’t and growth will fall. That’s if either of the two main parties do what they say they will do when in Govt. But we’ll have to wait and see who turns out to be right about that!

            Reply Happy for our different theories to be judged by the outcome. I predict 2%+ growth over the next two years if we stick to Conservative spending and borrowing plans. Only a severe Euro or other external crisis could change that.

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