East Ham Labour MP Stephen Timms celebrates Newham’s falling unemployment figures

East Ham MP Stephen Timms.

East Ham MP Stephen Timms. - Credit: Archant

Unemployment fell last week. The rate of unemployment in Newham used to be London’s highest. But it looks as if unemployment in Newham is now coming down faster than the rest of London.

In May, West Ham football club hosted a jobs fair at Upton Park. It was heaving with hundreds looking for work. There is no shortage of enthusiasm for working in our community. The problem has been the lack of jobs.

The Olympic Games put our area on the map. Among the lasting benefits, we have seen major investment announcements, like the Chinese financial centre in the Royal Docks which should create 20,000 jobs.

As shadow employment minister, I have been looking at efforts around the country to help people into work. The Government’s Work Programme includes some good examples, but it’s overall performance has been disappointing. It has missed all three “minimum performance standards” set for its first two years.

Local Councils have some very good projects. One of the most impressive is Newham Council’s “Workplace”, which is getting 5000 local people per year into jobs. It is the biggest project of its kind, and it’s progress is being closely followed by others.

Labour’s plan is for a “Jobs guarantee”. Young people out of work for a year, and over-25s out of work for two years, will be guaranteed the offer of a choice of jobs. The jobs will last at least six months, and be for at least 25 hours per week, paid at least at the rate of the National Minimum Wage. Once the offer has been made, payment of Job Seekers Allowance will stop.

Once local people have the chance of work, I am convinced we will see thousands back in jobs, and able to make the most of the opportunities to come.