Wednesday, 17 December 2008

UK unemployment tops the million

Today sees the release of figures showing that British unemployment has just passed the million; 1.07m to be precise.

However that comes nowhere near a full statement of the problem. There are actually 10 million people in the UK who are of working age but not in paid employment; of these we have:

1 million claiming jobseeker’s allowance

0.8 million seeking work but not qualifying for JSA (eg too young, or not paid enough NI.)

2.1 million want a job but not actively looking (hence don’t qualify for JSA but get other benefits.)

Here’s a breakdown...

Umempoyed by category

(Source)


How much does it cost the taxpayer?

Job Seeker’s Allowance.............. £2.2bn
Housing Benefit..................... £1.5 bn
Council Tax Benefit................. £300m
Illness and Disability Benefits..... £18bn
Lone Parent Benefits................ £7.4bn

Those 2.3 million sick people are costing the lion's share of the bill. Most commentators reckon that at least 1m of them aren't really sick at all but have been "parked" by the government in that category to flatter the numbers.

However the total social security budget is nearly £150bn! That of course includes pensions at £120bn and running the infrastructure to distribute benefits.

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