The Scottish industrial heartlands of West Dunbartonshire and East Ayrshire have overtaken inner London boroughs to become the worst place to find a job in Britain, according to new research from the TUC.
The analysis, published ahead of the latest unemployment figures this week, looks at the proportion of jobseeker’s allowance claimants to Jobcentre Plus vacancies in every local authority from March 2005 to March 2011 and ranks each of the 206 local authority areas by its claimant-to-vacancies ratio.
In March 2011, there were 3,786 claimants to just 94 jobs in West Dunbartonshire. The area was ranked 38 in 2005, suggesting a marked decline since the beginning of the recession.
In March 2005, the London borough of Newham was ranked the worst employment blackspot in Britain, with nearly 15 claimants per job vacancy.
Across Britain, the number of claimants per vacancy has quadrupled from 1.5 in 2005 to 6 this year.
The London boroughs of Haringey, Lewisham, Hackney, Greenwich and Lambeth are still languishing in the top 10, having all put in an appearance in the 2005 list, but the analysis did show significant improvements in the capital. The councils of Kensington & Chelsea and Islington – among the top 10 employment blackspots in 2005 – are now ranked at 45 and 47 respectively. Southwark is one of only three local authorities in Britain to have a better claimant to vacancy ratio now than in 2005.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber blamed the jobs crisis on “the Government’s deep and rapid spending cuts” which, he said, are “jeopardising our chances of recovery”.
Barber added: “There is a stark jobs divide across the country, with parts of Scotland and the Tees Valley experiencing a far sharper downturn than parts of the South-East. It’s not good enough for ministers to brand those out of work as feckless and claim that there are plenty of jobs out there. The reality is very different.
“We need far better funded employment schemes than those currently being implemented to get people back into work and contributing to our economy again.”