Economic revival vital as unemployment soars, says TUC

By agency reporter
19 Jan 2012

The latest UK-wide unemployment figures published on 18 January 2012 "are even worse than the bleak economic forecasts predicted, with new records achieved for youth and female unemployment," says Trades Union Congess (TUC) General Secretary, Brendan Barber.

The union leader continued: "The fear is now that mass joblessness becomes a permanent scar on the UK - with unemployment rising by 1,300 a day towards the end of last year [2011]."

"The news for those in work isn't great either, with pay growth falling and more people having to move to into part-time and insecure self-employment," said Mr Barber.

'We are now in the midst of a full-blown jobs crisis that is causing misery for millions and ruining any chance of an economic recovery. Ministers must start putting forward bold solutions to address this crisis, starting with a job guarantee for any young person out of work for six months," the TUC chief concluded.

Meanwhile, a further report published by the TUC this week says that if the UK is to end its over reliance on financial services, a renaissance in manufacturing needs to take place, using jobs and investment to revitalise the economy.

Government ministers who want to re-balance the economy could learn much from the German approach to industry, says the document.

German Lessons: Developing industrial policy in the UK looks at how government approaches to industry in Germany and the UK have differed since 1945.

It comes up with a number of suggestions as to how a more strategic, intelligent and active approach to government industrial policy could reap huge dividends for British manufacturing and the UK economy.

The report says that in the UK there is a great deal of emphasis on large firms and on the very smallest companies, but little thought or support is given over to medium-sized enterprises. Yet in Germany, the 'mittelstand' - a network of thousands of medium-sized companies - is the backbone of the economy and a crucial part of the German supply chain.

The concept of the social market is as dear a principle to the German people as the NHS is to the British public, says the report, and an economic system which brings management and workers together and has at its heart a strong positive role for unions and employers gave German firms a very definite advantage as the global economic slowdown began to take hold.

The TUC report also says that talented graduates in the UK are less likely to choose a career in industry than they are in Germany, and this combined with a three-year vocational training programme, provides a massive boost to the country's manufacturing firms.

Similarly, Germany makes much more use of apprenticeships - around 40 per cent of school leavers are taken on by employers for three years, whereas in the UK only six per cent of 16-18 year olds were on apprenticeships in 2010, and most of these were for little more than a year.

* The latest labour market statistics are available at www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/january-2012/statist...

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