Monday, 2 May 2016

AVBC elections May 5th .......... Tory record on employment

Local Tories claim to be the party for business and employment with the two Belper candidates, Alan Cox and John Nelson featuring this claim on their leaflets:

"Promote Local Jobs. We will support our local firms and high streets to build a stronger economy so that Belper can continue to thrive".

So how have the Tories performed in promoting local jobs? Obviously the answer can be found at the Office for National Statistics and the relevant data can be found here:

Percentage of economically active 16 to 64 year olds in Amber Valley district.

It would take a significant amount of data collation to unearth specific figures for Belper but a cursory investigation shows that Belper employment (not necessarily jobs in Belper) is in line with the overall Derbyshire statistic though there has been an increase in the distance that folk have to travel to get to work.

What is disturbing is that the rate of employment in Amber Valley has declined between 2004 and 2015:

  • 2004 % - Amber Valley = 76.5, East Midlands = 73.5, GB = 72.6
  • 2015 % - Amber Valley = 71.7, East Midlands = 73.8, GB = 73.6
It would appear that the Tories efforts in promoting jobs in Amber Valley, on this measure are not successful. This is a complex issue and there are any number of factors that have to be taken into account but, if we compare Amber Valley with the East Midlands or national scene then we are experiencing an underlying decline in job opportunities. There is evidence of a steady increase in employment in the region up to 2008 but the recession halted growth. 

The worrying factor is that Amber Valley is woefully underperforming when compared with other regions with the % of businesses over 10 years old increasing and the number of start up companies that fail within their first 2 years is also increasing. See these ONS charts for the region:

Percentage of Amber Valley businesses that are 2 to 3 years old - source ONS
Percentage of Amber Valley businesses older than 10 years - source ONS
Both these charts point to the fact that any effort made by AVBC Tory councillors to promote business and employment in the region has been unsuccessful. However much a mitigating Tory finger is pointed at the credit crunch or an isolated annual improvement, when compared with the average performance in the East Midlands, or in fact nationally, Amber Valley has underperformed. Despite what they say the Tories have presided over declining work opportunities for those seeking steady employment in this region.

It is not good enough for these two Tory borough councillors to wrap themselves in Belper centric statistics because the majority of working age Belper residents find employment outside the town and are reliant on jobs elsewhere in the county ............ or beyond. They should be concerned about job opportunities in the borough of Amber Valley.

What this area needs

Old coal shaft near Heanor - John Holland 1805 - 1880
Buxton Museum & Art Gallery
There can be no distinction between Belper and the rest of Amber Valley as we are interdependent. In our modern society employment is not as localised as it once was and it is wrong for politicians to suggest such a thing. BelperStuff sees no distinction between an impoverished household in Heanor, Codnor or Belper. In a world where regions compete to attract companies to their areas perhaps it is time for more consideration to be given to the building blocks needed for increased employment opportunities; for the encouragement of meaningful apprenticeships, for fostering of stronger links between schools, colleges and businesses, for more resources to be targeted at those vital transport links between employment centres and the places where people live. The key elements must be education, training and mobility and not the promotion of zero hour jobs and zero year companies.

There are many people working in education and training who devote their lives to making those they care for better able to make some headway in the world of work. They need more support.

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