Steve McCabe, MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, is calling for reconstruction and innovation to tackle unemployment as we attempt to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Figures released today, by the Office of National Statistics, show the claimant count in Birmingham Selly Oak, as of April 2020, was 4,950, that’s 6.6% of the constituency, notably higher than the national average of 5.1%. Alarm bells should be ringing at the news that for Birmingham, as a whole, the figure rose to 12.3%
The statistics also detailed a worrying rise in youth unemployment, 14.7% of young Brummies aged 18-24 are currently unemployed, much higher than the rest of the population.
Long before this crisis began, Steve McCabe was calling for the Government and the Mayor to take specific action for constituencies like Selly Oak with persistent unemployment above the national average. This will be particularly important in an uncertain job market as we attempt to recover from the pandemic. There will need to be specific support schemes for training and upskilling the unemployed and young people attempting to join the labour market.
The latest figures suggest unemployment has been rising steadily during the pandemic which is itself worrying but what happens next will be crucial. Steve McCabe says that we should already be looking at the labour market and new ways of working which are an inevitable outcome of the fourth industrial revolution. We now have to factor in the coronavirus impact on top. Through his role on the Work and Pensions Select committee, he has been calling for a blueprint for future work. The committee is due to take evidence from industry specialists and others to try and determine the essential components needed to support employment and avoid a depression and wide scale unemployment.
Steve McCabe MP said:
“The rise in unemployment in Birmingham is really worrying but predictable. With youth unemployment now standing at 14.7% across the city, we urgently need measures to help young people find proper jobs.
The pandemic has forced us to rethink work. We have an opportunity to take proactive measures and help everyone get through this while planning properly for the future. It will require innovation, determination and support from the Government. I will do my bit with local businesses but we must recognise that unless there’s a blueprint for action, the Government is risking wiping out the life chances of an entire generation.”