MPs outraged over change to job data
THE Government is being accused of attempting to fudge its figures and hide the true picture of unemployment in places such as Hull.
The jobless figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on Wednesday provided a snapshot of the amount of people out of work in the Yorkshire region.
However, MPs have access to figures that show exactly how many people in their individual constituency are unemployed, compared with the number of jobs advertised in JobCentre Plus.
Now, Employment Minister Mark Hoban has confirmed these more detailed figures will no longer be available to MPs, leading to accusations the Government is trying to cover up the scale of unemployment across the country.
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In November, these monthly job-seeker statistics revealed that Hull North had 50 Jobseeker's Allowance claimants for every vacancy advertised at Jobcentre Plus – the highest in the country.
Hull North MP Diana Johnson said: "The Employment Minister has confirmed to me that from this month, and for the foreseeable future, it will no longer be possible for MPs to obtain constituency statistics on the number of job- seekers after each job.
"These figures have been useful for journalists, economists and MPs in giving a snapshot of employment trends in local areas that are sometimes concealed within other wider figures."
The MP raised the issue in the House of Commons last Thursday after learning about the changes from the House of Commons Library.
She has since received a letter from the employment minister confirming the changes are in force, however she says there is no valid reason for why the changes were implemented.
"Curiously, in his letter Mark Hoban goes to some length to downplay the worth of these figures, while at the same time expressing an aspiration for the equivalent figures to be available again at some unspecified time in the future," she said.
"There is no legitimate reason for this information not to be provided.
"It seems all too politically convenient for the Government not to have these figures available as we debate joblessness, growth and regeneration issues."