Friday 17, February 2012
MP's face jobless at BBC unemployment debate
AS the latest UK unemployment figures leapt to a startling 2.67million, BBC Radio 5live’s Victoria Derbyshire held a special debate at MediaCityUK, writes Oliver Kurt.
With and audience consisting of 200 unemployed people and MPs representing each of the main parties, the debate provided an insight into the social and economical issues that mass unemployment is causing.
“I feel humiliated” stated one unemployed teacher who, like many in the room, was desperately seeking work in a climate of continued public sector cuts.
Tory representative Sam Gyimah came under heavy criticism for the way in which the coalition government is handling unemployment across the UK. Following questions regarding the job-seekers allowance, and a challenge from an audience member, Gymiah stated: “If there’s anyone to blame why we are here, it’s the previous government.”
With unemployment up by 48,000, the number of young people out of work has also increased by 22000, taking the total figure of 16-24 year-olds to 1.04million.
One 19-year-old told how he had success by taking part in a scheme established by the local fire department which gave him the skills and contacts to acquire a job as a lifeguard.
He said: “I spent six months unemployed but the Job Centre still wasn’t helping me”.
The role of the Job Centre was a key subject of the debate with many feeling they had been ‘let down’ by the lack of support. Some had abandoned it all together and have now taken it upon themselves to contact employers directly.
Also present were representatives from various companies providing their contribution to assist the national job crisis.
Norman Pickavance, HR director for Morrisons, revealed the superstore’s plans to create “7500 jobs across the UK” this year, adding that these positions will promote advancement to managerial roles in the company.
Victoria Derbyshire added: “I thought there were some fantastic contributions from people who are working so hard to try and get a job. That’s what we really brought up in front of a group of politicians today.”
* Listen to the debate at www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer