Radical change needed for Islington’s unemployed, report says
Pioneering measures were proposed today to get the borough’s unemployed into jobs
Action is needed to tackle unemployment in Islington, including better help and more local control over employment services, according to a report by the Islington Employment Commission published today.
The commission was established earlier this year to determine why 30% of working age people in the borough are economically inactive, despite an average of 1.34 local jobs available per working age resident.
The report said that, “despite its wealthy image, Islington has a huge divide between rich and poor, and an unemployment crisis that keeps people in poverty.”
Its recommendations include more targeted support for those in most urgent need of employment, like the long-term unemployed, and getting young people directly into work upon leaving school.
The report also calls upon the government to devolve more employment services to local councils.
Cllr Richard Watts, the leader of Islington Council, told the Islington Gazette: “Central Government spend £40 milllion on jobseekers in Islington, but only four per cent is allocated locally. We think this money could be used in a way that’s more in tune with our individuals’ and employers’ needs. More of the money should be devolved to the council to spend.”
The commission’s work over the last half year included visiting job centres, charities and schools, and speaking with employers as well as unemployed people.
In a statement, Cllr Robert Khan, co-chair of the commission, said: “Islington has longstanding problems around unemployment, which is far higher than it should be and a major cause of poverty.
“We’ve spoken to a huge range of people, from unemployed residents to local business owners, about the issues that stop people getting into work,” he added.
Maggie Semple OBE, co-chair of the commission, said: “Work transforms the lives of local people and their families, and at the same time, recruiting locally can bring big advantages to employers and companies.
“We found plenty of evidence that people out of work want to work, but face obstacles like a lack of confidence or childcare they can’t afford.”
Featured image by: J J Ellison (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons