Tomlinson’s dishonest use of statistics

Credit where it’s due. Justin Tomlinson is consistent. He consistently attempts to mislead his electorate in relation to the employment situation in the town. Once again he is trying to con people by presenting the Job Seekers Allowance numbers as the unemployment level. Why does he continue to do this despite the fact that he knows many of the unemployed are not JSA recipients?

In fact the big fall in the number of JSA claimants is the result of nothing less than a system of state harassment designed to drive people off of it and other benefits by way of the callous and inhumane sanctions regime. There are many reports of the the absurd and sometimes outrageous reasons why people are sanctioned: being in hospital having a heart operation, having a terminal illness, applying for 19 jobs in one week instead of 20, being in a job interview instead of in a meeting with the DWP, to name but a few.

As for the job creation of which Tomlinson boasts you have to ask what sort of jobs. It’s good to have a job but not so good if the work is insecure, low paid, and you struggle to live on the wages. The sort of economy that the coalition government has promoted creates low paid work, zero hours contracts and bogus ‘self-employment’. The latest available figures from the HMRC for self-employment in Swindon, for 2011/12, show 50% of such people then earning less than £10,400 a year. This is not ‘entrepreneurial’ activity but people who cannot get secure well paid jobs scrabbling about as best they can to earn some money.

We have an economy with disguised unemployment and much under-employment. One in three people in part-time work are in it only because they cannot find a full-time job. Since the coalition came to office, in Swindon there has been an increase in the number of ‘economically inactive’ people of working age, of 4,300. The number ‘economically inactive’ who want a job has increased by 4,500 to 9,000.

The economy which the coalition has helped to create is one where exploitation in work is rife. One example recently in the news is the so-called ‘Swedish derogation’ which enables an employer to pay an agency worker less than directly employed staff, and guarantee them no more than 7 hours a week. I can’t remember Justin speaking out against this injustice, nor against obligatory zero hours contracts.

As for earnings resulting from the ‘successful’ economic strategy of the coalition, check the NOMIS website, and you will see that the average wage in Swindon was lower in 2014 than in 2010. When you take account of inflation then the value of the average wage is around 15% lower than when the coalition came to power.

Justin’s dishonest use of statistics has no other purpose than securing his lucrative MP’s wage whilst many of his constituents struggle to survive in precarious and low paid work as a result of policies that he supports.

Martin Wicks

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