We keep hearing from the Conservatives about the fall in unemployment and the great number of of new jobs created. But what is the truth? Well, as usual, it isn't that simple.
There are a number of factors to take into account. Firstly, there is the actual number itself. While it is true that unemployment has dropped considerably, the base figure, 2010 was not a normal year. It was the peak of a financial recession, one that impacted the whole world. Banks were on the verge of closure and unemployment was very high. This in itself is a bias. If there had been no government action at all, frankly unemployment would have dropped because people need to eat. So for the Tories to claim it is all down to them, as well as blaming the recession on Labour, is clearly a lemon (read: UNTRUTH).
But more to the point, it is the way in which it dropped. We have all heard of the 'GIG' economy and blame the way of the world today on that. But that's not quite accurate either. The corporate tax cuts, intended to boost investment in the UK did not happen. Instead, employers preferred to create new, lower paid jobs and hire more people. The unemployment among the young dropped, but they were paid the minimum wage. Some people that wanted more work hours but couldn't get them, people like UBER drivers, didn't even make the minimum wage when averaged over the hours they were waiting for the phone to ring. This is further underlined by looking at this new full employment world we supposedly have. Normally, under full employment thee is pressure among the employers to pay higher wages. Not so in today's economy. The reason: The demand for more labour being generated by increased manufacturing due to the weaker pound is just taking up the slack in the system. Still there is no pressure to invest in new machines and technology, hardly surprising when one considers the Brexit conundrum.
At the same time, the freeze in the public sector pay, which was mirrored to a greater or lesser extent in the private sector, resulted in the fall of real wages. Self-employed and part-timers were now the norm. The rise in the rate of inflation is further aggravating this. This is not real growth per se. Another way to look at it is that more employment should have resulted in a much bigger cake. Instead, it is more like a similar sized cake, shared out among a much larger number of people, with the net result that everybody now stays hungry. Strictly speaking, it could be said that this has resulted in a fairer economy where everybody takes a share but this isn't right either; because the drops in income for the richer, as epitomized by the MP pay rise in 2015 of around 10% was nothing like that for the population at large.
Another way to look at it is that the smaller cake that was the pay for the poorer classes was subdivided among a much larger number while the other cake, for the richer was boosted in size by tax cuts and the like. Add to that the massive wealth hikes brought about by property values going up (because not enough housing was being built) and you now have a brand new economy and highly imbalanced one, not unlike France just before they guillotined their King.
We now have an economy, where cuts are made to building expenditure by cladding it in cheap inflammable materials, for example. The cladding is considered essential because it looks good to the rich neighbours, even though it would have been cheaper not to put it at all. But was all this worth it? Again the answer is complex, but simply put NO it isn't. This is not the world Britain wants.
Today Britain has the lowest growth rate of all the developed countries. Why? Because the lack of investment in technology has resulted in lower productivity making it even more difficult to give pay rises as inflation goes up. In turn this makes the UK super-dependent on its financial services exports, concentrated in London. By the way, apparently there are no World Trade Organization rules for financial services. So Brexiters, how's it going so far?
Blaming the EU and saying they too will suffer is meaningless when you are hungry. At this stage there may be a fight in Europe to get the EU to treat Britain better, but insulting them doesn't help matters. More to the point, the selfish tactics of Britain are infectious and eventually they (the EU) will start saying, forget Britain, they are no longer one of us. We will all regress to a nationalistic, self centered economy except Britain won't have the benefit of size that the EU and America have. As things are going, Scotland won't be the only one seceding from the United Kingdom.
As the Londoners come to realize they are paying the living of the entire country, they too could demand independence, just like Catalonia. Perhaps it will only be the City of London where the wealth is generated, I can see it now, the People's Republic of Canary Wharf (says he tongue in cheek!)