Steve McCabe MP for Birmingham Selly Oak has expressed concerns over increasing unemployment in his constituency.
While ministers hailed the national jobs totals, figures released today show that 6.7% of people in Birmingham, Selly Oak are currently unemployed. This is considerably higher than the national figure of 3.6% and the Selly Oak figure has actually risen from last month when it was 6.5%.
The MP explained his concerns about the consistent rise in unemployment which has been going on since December 2017. Last month he wrote to the Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions requesting urgent action and calling for a fresh initiative to address the long term unemployment experienced by too many of his constituents.
It is acknowledged that new opportunities such as HS2 and the Commonwealth Games will create employment for the West Midlands but this tends to be employment at more than an hour’s travel distance for most of Steve’s constituents who usually don’t have their own means of transport. A new initiative would require better skills training opportunities in the areas where stubborn unemployment exists and a concerted effort to help those most at risk of long term unemployment into jobs where they are likely to succeed. The Department for Work and Pensions doesn’t seem to recognise these aspects of the problem and seems content to parrot the maxim that there are more people in work in the West Midlands than in 2010.
Steve McCabe MP is concerned about complacency from Government and the real risk that those, especially young people in Selly Oak, who languish on the unemployment register for too long will eventually become unemployable.
“Unemployment in my area has risen month on month for nearly two years. I’ve regularly sought to bring this to the attention of the Government but their complacency and lacklustre response shows a lack of interest in understanding or tackling this issue. Stubborn unemployment needs direct action and new initiatives not complacency and disinterest. Unemployment in my constituency is higher than both the West Midlands average and the national average and it’s time we received more than platitudes.”