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Radical plan to tackle unemployment


Islington Labour is committed to making our borough a fairer place and tackling one of the major drivers of unfairness in Islington, unemployment, is the focus of a radical report published today. 

The Islington Employment Commission - the first of its kind in the country - has spent the last nine months gathering evidence about why, despite there being 1.34 jobs for every working age person in Islington, almost 40,000 local people are not in work. 

Despite the image some people choose to depict of Islington as a wealthy borough, the reality is that there is a huge divide between rich and poor and we actually have one of the highest rates of child poverty in the country. In fact, a higher proportion of our children grow up in households where no adult works than anywhere else in the country.

Lifting people out of poverty by getting more people into work will do more than anything else to improve lives of the poorest in our borough.

Our report makes it clear that action is needed to tackle unemployment in Islington, including better help for those who need it most and more local control over employment services. 

In creating this report, the Commission visited job centres, job clubs, businesses, charities, and schools, and spoke to unemployed people directly to gather evidence about what needed to change. 

The Commission has made many observations and three core calls to action about what must be done to help tackle unemployment: 

  • Targeting support for those who need it most, especially those who aren't well, are disabled, or who have been out of work for a long time. There are lots of services and resources, but they are not always well co-ordinated, and we need to work better together to radically improve the employment support system.
  • Employers need to be given a single place where they can easily recruit the people they need locally. There are many benefits to working locally for employers and employees, and employers should work with local services to create real change for the community.
  • The best support to help young people find the careers they deserve, including creating a stronger link between employers and schools to make sure that all Islington young people get the high quality careers education they need

The Commission also found that employment services commissioned and managed by the Government are simply not delivering for local people.

The report calls on Government to devolve employment services to the local level, instead of funding many different agencies separately. This would help areas like Islington target resources where they are needed most, and make sure that services work for local areas and the types of opportunities on offer.

Cllr Robert Khan, Co-Chair of the Islington Employment Commission, said: "Islington has long-standing problems around unemployment, which is far higher than it should be and a major cause of poverty. We've spoken to a huge range of people, from unemployed residents to local business owners, about the issues that stop people getting into work.

"Today, we are calling for radical change to help get local people into jobs they can keep and ultimately enjoy."

Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, said: "Islington has an unemployment crisis, with more kids growing up in households where no adult works than anywhere else in the country. I welcome the Commission's report, and as a council we're committed to making this vision happen.

"The success of the Commission will be judged not just by how much we can reduce unemployment, but by how much of the drop is those currently excluded from the labour market. The better off residents of our borough enjoy the benefits of an economy that is, for them at least, thriving. I want all of our residents to enjoy a part of that success."

You can read the Commission's full report here or a summary of the main findings here. 

Pictured: Islington Labour councillors at the launch of the Islington Employment Commission.  


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commented 2017-09-15 14:07:50 +0100
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commented 2016-11-24 10:51:25 +0000
Islington Labour “On Your Side??”.

As a young man, I remember my Uncles informing me of how, the late, Tony Benn MP fought for them… in terms of providing them with housing support – back in the 1970s. My life growing-up continued to feel hopeful that this is the difference between a Labour Party and a Tory one – a Labour party actually “fights” for real people… and helps them to achieve goals; the Tory party are self-serving and fail to understand “real” people because they have not lives this life. A young man – then in my 30s – Imagine how I felt, and the impact it had on my life; hard work, fight and resilience; when this “difference” between these political elites was eventually put to the test.

An Expert by Experience is a valuable, supportive measure that must be “inclusive” of policy development both locally and nationally if the goal is to improve the health and social mobility outcomes of local people. The richness and vitality of an Expert by Experience surpasses that of a common stakeholder in terms of the first-hand experience of the Correlation between Poor Policy and Poor Health. If local authority is genuine in its aim to reach-out, support these individuals, and to help rebuild their lives… they must also be wiling to build a “viable” success story that inspires others throughout the Borough and prevents them facing the same disempowerment, isolation and developing mental health challenges that remain no stranger to the life of an Expert by Experience.

A Health & Work programme was seen as HOPE for those suffering the fragmentation of a national Work Programme. This was communicated by the majority of Islington residents who now felt isolated, disenfranchised and whose Voices were silenced for far too long. However, was this a GENUINE attempt to empower those effected by a Work Programme, and the challenges that stemmed from it?

I was commended for my report writing that highlighted “the correlation between Poor Policy and Poor Health” – meaning that far too often disconnected policy is the causation of isolation… and developing mental health challenges by those who are meant to be empowered by it all. The problem and detriment is clear.

November 2015, the headline “1000 young people helped into work” projected from the Council, and the Labour party website. Where was the fight for the mature skills and talent who worked as Experts by Experience for the Health & Work programme? The Equality Act. 2010 is clear when applying a Dignity for ALL approach by local authority. In fact, it’s on the Council’s website.

Though there is much more evidence to submit, I will finalise this particular statement by saying that the skills and talent of mature job-seekers are key to the inspiration and development of our younger people. If we accept that, then “local authority” must start committing itself rebuilding these lives and harnessing the richness of valuable skills and talent within Islington.

The young boy who listened to his Uncle’s positive experience with Tony Benn… offered HOPE. However, to experience the reality… one has to wonder "who is really fighting for those who have been failed again, and again.. and again? Is it not fair to say that such failure will always become permanently reliant upon the State? is this the goal for local authority?

I have learned that those at the Council responsible for the development and delivery of the Health & Work programme, have now moved onto better roles.

Islington needs a “Champion” who is serious about confronting Poor Policy and the attitudes that stem from it… towards igniting real social change and rebuilding of social mobility.

Isn’t it about time that policy makers become as resilient as the potential service-users… and instead of hiding from mistakes or disingenuous guidelines… YOU start to confront the real issues and BUILD an improved landscape upon which a new cycle of HOPE can be achieved.. and received?


I. Sutton
published this page in News 2014-11-26 17:39:51 +0000

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