Document Abstract

The long shadow of industrial Britain's demise, IN Regions, No 308 Autumn 2017, pp5-8

Analyses the impact of the loss of industrial jobs on the labour market and benefit claimant rates in the UK, and discusses the consequences for contemporary public finances. Looks at the decline of industrial Britain and notes that, in 1966, 8.9 million people worked in manufacturing and a further 500,000 in the coal industry. Reports that this compares with just 2.9 million in manufacturing and virtually none in the coal industry in 2016. Explains that these industrial job losses were concentrated in the ‘older industrial areas’ of the North, Scotland and Wales. Observes that claimant unemployment in these areas has fallen back to low levels, but finds that the near-permanent effect has been to raise incapacity claimant numbers, both among men and women. Highlights that, in Britain as a whole, the numbers currently out-of-work on incapacity-related benefits exceed the numbers on unemployment benefits by three-to-one. Identifies that the incapacity claimant rate in older industrial Britain is around 10%. Draws on a range of data, including Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) figures for working-age incapacity-related benefits, in order to calculate that the grand total for the benefits received by incapacity claimants comes to almost £34 billion per annum. Argues that a revival of both industrial production and regional economic policy are central to rebalancing the UK economy.


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Beatty, Christina; Fothergill, Steve
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