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TUC publishes plan to protect West Midlands from mass unemployment and build back better
A new TUC report ‘A better recovery for the West Midlands (published yesterday, Monday) sets out a plan to prevent mass unemployment following the pandemic, with secure jobs and decent pay for working families.
- TUC report sets out plan to invest for growth so jobs can be protected and created
- Report to be launched by TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady.
- Labour candidate for WMCA Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP to respond
- New TUC analysis shows breakdown of employment risk for local authorities in the West Midlands
Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary yesterday launched the report at a roundtable event with trade union leaders. The Labour candidate for the West Midlands metro mayor, Liam Byrne, will respond to the report at the launch.
Unemployment risk in the West Midlands
The TUC warns that there is a high risk of mass unemployment in the West Midlands without a recovery plan centred on protecting and creating jobs, backed by major investment.
Workers who have required support from the job retention scheme and self-employed income support scheme are most likely to face unemployment risks in the months ahead.
In the West Midlands, TUC analysis estimates that at least 882,000 workers (32% of the workforce) have required support from these schemes.
On top of these figures, there will be many other people who have been laid off, or who entered the employment market during the crisis, and have been unable to find work.
And the union body says economic uncertainty will affect all industries, so there will be pressure on the jobs of many workers who have not been furloughed too.
A plan to get the West Midlands growing out of the crisis – and stop mass unemployment
The pandemic alone did not cause the current crisis. It was made worse by a decade of austerity and failure to strengthen the West Midlands economy, says the TUC.
Choosing the wrong approach now risks embedding low growth, long-term unemployment and all the social ills that go alongside.
The report recommends an approach based on recently published TUC research (see notes), which found that the fastest recoveries from economic crises in UK history were based on investment for growth.
An investment for growth approach must be resourced by central government, and will need action at regional level in three key areas:
- Investing in jobs: Combined authorities, local councils and local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) should work in partnership to:
- Secure investment for local infrastructure needs
- Leverage public sector spending to support local jobs and enterprise
- Develop a regional-level green industrial strategy that builds on the region’s strengths to meet climate targets
- Decent work and a new way of doing business: Combined authorities, local councils and LEP’s should attach conditions to commissioning and procurement that will improve job quality, strengthen worker voice, increase training opportunities and tackle discrimination and disadvantage in the workplace.
- Rebuilding public services: Combined Authorities and local authorities should adopt a policy of managing all services in-house by default, so they can raise employment and delivery standards, and strengthen the resilience of essential services such as social care.
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