Council chief demands tools to tackle jobs 'crisis'

Date published: 26 February 2021

Oldham’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Abdul Jabbar, has called for Councils to be given new tools to help people back into work as unemployment figures reveal the extent of the jobs 'crisis'.

As the ONS figures published this week reveal 13,725 are now claiming unemployment support across Oldham Borough, Cllr Jabbar is calling for greater freedom and support to boost local jobs markets including:

· Help councils make jobs their number one priority – devolving and funding the delivery of employment services so that councils can use local knowledge to get people into work

· Target economic recovery support where it is needed most – ensuring that the areas hit hardest by coronavirus receive the most help

· Build back better – require economic support to use social value commissioning and procurement to promote better work, wages, and access to skills

· Stop wasting money on expensive private consultants – instead direct funding only to accountable public bodies such as councils and local community groups

· Devolve decision making to local level - decision making on stimulus projects should be taken away from Whitehall and handed to local and regional government.

The Claimant Count across Oldham Borough (the number of individuals who are unemployed and claiming job seekers allowance or other unemployment related benefits) in these figures is now at 13,725 – up 7,025 in a year.

Across Greater Manchester, 137,890 are unemployed, up 68,955 in a year.

Cllr Jabbar said: “We have to beat this virus, but we have to beat the jobs crisis too.

"Greater Manchester and particularly Oldham have been under much tighter economic restrictions than the rest of the country for much of the last year.

"Both the virus and the restrictions have taken their toll on people and we must ensure they get the support they need to rebuild their lives and livelihoods as lockdown measures are loosened.

“That’s why councils should be given the tools to act and target economic support where it’s really needed.

“Every day we seem to hear about this government giving out more crony contracts to their mates, but we hear nothing about getting those out of work back into jobs.

"Whether it’s the wrong priorities or incompetence, the reality is too many people across Oldham are being left behind – and that’s got to change.”

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