Fylde coast in low hours crisis claim

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The Fylde coast’s workers are among the worst affected by a rise in ‘underemployment’, a new study has found.

And a Blackpool MP has called for more to be done to ensure people get enough hours of work to ensure a decent standard of living.

The figures, taken from the Government’s Labour Force Survey, show that the number of people who are under-employed in the North West has increased by 18 per cent since 2010.

It shows that while unemployment has fallen in the region by 33,000 since the last election, under-employment has risen by 55,000, to around 362,000 people who say they simply do not work enough hours to make ends meet.

Union organisation the TUC says the fastest increase in local under-employment has been among self-employed workers.

And Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said: “This absolutely underlines everything I’ve said in recent months about the underemployment problem.

“There are many examples of people in my constituency where they are having to take up two or three different jobs just to make ends meet. This is not good for the employees, but this isn’t also good for the local economy and businesses, who will see a high turnover of staff as a result.

“The Government boast about a recovering economy across the country, however the analysis done by the TUC paints a very different picture.

“While some parts of the country prosper, places like Blackpool are not reaping the same benefits.

“It is good news that unemployment is falling, however I am increasingly concerned about the increase in underemployment and the casualisation of low-hour contracts.”

North West TUC Regional Secretary Lynn Collins said: “Sadly with part-time, temporary, low-paid jobs often the only work that people can get, under-employment remains high and is still rising.

“As the squeeze on pay continues, many people don’t have enough money for everyday essentials, let alone to cover any emergencies.”

However, Blackpool North MP Paul Maynard said: “The Fylde coast has a history of seasonal and part-time work, so accusations of under-employment are perhaps unsurprising.

“However, it would be wrong to portray falls in unemployment locally as somehow ‘bad news’, and I am suspicious of attempts by the TUC to portray everything in such a bleak light.

“As the economy continues to grow, the positive trends we have seen will, I hope, continue.”