Ten into one doesn’t go

courtesy of the Telegraph
courtesy of the Telegraph

By Elizabeth Gorrie

Ten people are in competition for each job in the UK, according to new figures released by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) today.

In response, the government is set to divert many civil servants back to job centres which were until recently under threat of closure. The Department for Work and Pensions has already brought in four thousand new staff.

The Isle of Wight is said to be the hardest hit area with an average of sixty people applying for each vacancy. Scotland’s Western Isles come a close second, with over forty jobseekers per advertised vacancy.

Edinburgh is under similar pressure. The Tron Tavern in the city centre is currently looking for a new bar supervisor. Speaking to Dunedin Napier News the bar manager revealed: “We’ve already received twenty applications for this one position and there’s still three days till the closing date”.

Similarly a recent job vacancy at an Edinburgh primary school saw over ninety people applying.

There are calls for the Chancellor, Alistair Darling to offer more support to the unemployed, ahead of next month’s budget.

Referring to today’s TUC figures Shadow Work and Pensions secretary Philip Hammond told The Scotsman: “This goes to show how complacent Labour has been about Britain’s growing unemployment crisis”.

“Instead of providing extra support when unemployment began to rise, Labour continued their programme of Job Centre closures. Now unemployment is almost doubling in some parts of Scotland and there simply aren’t the resources to cope.”

The official unemployment figure in the UK has already reached two million, with the British Chamber of Commerce claiming that this figure will reach over three million by the end of 2010. Across Scotland more than fifty Job Centres have closed over the last six years, some in areas which are now experiencing mass unemployment.

In response to the TUC figures Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Fiona Hyslop said: “The Scottish Government is undertaking a range of work, through its economic recovery programme, to help individuals and organisations”.

“We have committed an additional sixteen million pounds to increase apprenticeship recruitment in Scotland. I have already been involved in discussions with major employers to explore how we can support employers across Scotland to increase the opportunities for modern apprentices.”

Scotland’s first Apprenticeship Summit will be held on 28th April 2009. This, according to the Scottish Government, will help “develop the jobs and skills needed during the economic downturn”.

Steps to improve the dismal employment situation have so far been well received. However, financial experts have commented that today’s TUC figures highlight that Prime Minister, Gordon Brown’s promise of bringing an end to the ‘boom and bust’ economy is still a long way from being realised.