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Cambridge Liberal Democrats

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Julian Huppert MP

Howarth questions 'massaged' employment figures

December 2, 2005 3:36 PM

New figures obtained by David Howarth show that the proportion of people in Cambridge coming off Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) and moving into work has been steadily falling over the last 6 years.

Now only a third of those coming off JSA in Cambridge are moving into work, instead the rest have been moved on to other benefits (e.g. Incapacity benefit or income support) or are failing to sign on.

David said:

"The claimant count for the country as a whole has now risen for the 9th month in a row, but the Government is under pressure to keep unemployment as low as possible.

"Something strange has been happening to the figures over the last 6 years. We assume that people come off Jobseekers Allowance because they find work; however that is proving increasingly rare. If only 1 person in 3 coming off JSA is now moving into a job, then what is happening to everybody else?

"The last Tory government was damaged by the revelation that people were being pushed off the unemployment roll and onto incapacity benefit to massage the numbers in their favour. We need to look very carefully at what is going on to make sure that the same sleight of hand is not now happening again."