Claims that economic recovery is on course with today’s (Wednesday 16 April) fall in the jobless figures are marred by the fact that more than 900,000 received emergency food in the past year, Unite, the country’s largest union, said.
Unite said that recovery was patchy across the UK and this was highlighted by new figures from the Trussell Trust, the biggest food bank charity, which revealed that 913,000 people received three days’ emergency food from the trust in 2013-14, compared with 346,000 in the previous year.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "There will be no sighs of relief from families struggling to get by in the face of the biggest squeeze in living standards since the Victorian era.
“With the retail price index (RPI) at 2.5 per cent and wage growth at 1.4 per cent, excluding bonuses, the squeeze continues leaving ordinary people bewildered at the self-congratulatory tone of the government that has presided over the growing shame of food bank Britain.
"While the fall in unemployment is welcome, it can’t hide the fact that nearly 900,000 of our young people are still on the dole and that for many the recovery is simply passing them by.
“Over a million people want to work full-time, but are forced to work part-time as the world of zero hours and insecure work takes a firm hold.
“Many are turning to self-employment, not because they are blazing an entrepreneurial trail, but because they have no alternative - they can’t find the full-time jobs suitable for their qualifications.
“For millions, their experience of work is that of an insecure, hand-to-mouth existence on low wages, with over a million more earning below the ‘living wage’ than when the Tory-led government came to power in 2010.
“And too much of the so-called recovery is skewed towards the powerhouse of London and the south east – and this is not helping to create a balanced economy for all the regions of the UK.
"We need to give people dignity and put money in their pockets with decent jobs that pay decent wages.”
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
Notes to editors
• Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.