Monday, 30 March 2015

Grpah of the week - Poverty and Social Exclusion in the UK and EU

The above graph is from a report from the Office of National Statistics that looks at poverty and social exclusion across the EU. The graph shows the percentage of each country's population that is at risk of poverty and social exclusion.

It is worrying that the UK, which is third richest country in the EU after Germany and France is only better than the EU average. It seems we are "all in it together."

For more info download the whole report here.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Graph of the week - In work poverty in the UK

This graph from the Office of National Statistics report on Poverty and Employment Transitions in the UK and EU, 2007-2012 clearly shows that despite the UK being the third richest nation in the EU (after Germany and France) we rank 16th for in-work poverty and are only just bellow the EU average.

This is a statistic the government should be profoundly ashamed about.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Happy International Women's Day - but we could do better in the UK

Today is International Women's Day and you can find out more here. For the past nine years the World Economic Forum have produced a report with the Global Gender Gap (GGG) Index for countries all across the world.

The 2014 report is now available and it does not really make good reading for a rich and well developed nation like the UK, which is ranked 26 out 142 countries. The UK is unsurprisingly behind the Scandinavian countries which are known for their good gender equality, but the UK is also behind countries like  Nicaragua, Rwanda, Latvia, Burundi, Ecuador, Slovenia and Bulgaria. The full rankings can be found here.

The UK is ranked 48 out of 142 countries for wage equality.

The detailed gender equality analysis for the UK can be found here and is shows we still have a long way to go to get full gender equality.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Graph of the week - The Rise of Zero Hours Contracts


Zero hours contracts have been in the news a lot over the past few months, and the government have been claiming economic success with more people in employment. But is this telling the whole story?

We grabbed the data from the ONS website and knocked up a quick graph. In 2013 there was a big jump of over 300,000 additional people on zero hours contracts. So these people may be off the unemployment register, but they are not in decent, secure full-time employment.

Hardly the job creation miracle that some are claiming.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Make Birmingham a Living Wage City: Citizens UK Birmingham and Midlands TUC visit living wage employers

The Midlands TUC and Citizens UK Birmingham have joined forces in response to the revelation Birmingham Northfield is the top living wage blackspots in the country with 53.4 per cent of the jobs based there paying less than the living wage.


On Thursday afternoon, campaigners will be visiting employers in Birmingham City Centre to present a ‘thank you’ card for paying the Living Wage. Chocolate and campaign speech bubbles will also be presented to staff as part of the campaign to encourage more employers to commit to paying the Living Wage.


Midlands TUC Regional Secretary, Lee Barron, said:


“The appalling Birmingham living wage statistics revealed during Fair Pay Fortnight demonstrates the urgent need to make Birmingham a “Living Wage City. It is simply unacceptable that so many brummies, and people right across the Midlands, are not earning at least the Living Wage.


That is why it is right to give credit to those Birmingham employers who have committed to working with staff and unions to pay their workforce the Living Wage, and we will work with others to urge more employers to follow suit.


“The number of living wage employers is growing rapidly and unions are playing their part in encouraging more employers to sign up and pay it. But we need to see a far wider commitment to pay the living wage from government, employers and modern wages councils – to drive up productivity and set higher minimum rates in industries where employers can afford to pay their staff more.”


Citizens UK Birmingham Organiser, Becca Kirkpatrick  said: 


“Citizens UK shares the TUC’s aspiration to make Birmingham a Living Wage city. Though there is much to do, Birmingham City Council, KPMG, Unity Trust Bank and others have already shown great leadership in helping to increase the number of accredited Living Wage employers here.


More employers every week are discovering that the Living Wage is not only good for the wellbeing of their staff and their families, it’s good for business too. We believe that everybody deserves to earn a Living Wage, and we will organise with our partners all year round to persuade more employers to pay it."

Friday, 20 February 2015

Graph of the week - Tax Revenues by Country

With all the controversy about tax avoidance and evasion we thought it would be interesting to see how the UK’s tax revenue compared with other countries.

So we went to the OECD website, found some data for 2013, downloaded it, and then did a graph.

The graph above shows the tax revenue in dollars per capita. The UK is highlighted in blue. It shows that relative to other countries the per capita tax revenue is low. The graph shows that comparatively speaking the UK is not a high tax country in terms of tax revenue. So it's no wonder we are seeing such savage cuts to public services.

It is not possible to say conclusively that this because of tax avoidance and evasion, but it does leave you wondering.....

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Graph of the week: Percentage of electorate voting for MPs

The data for the graph above came from the Electoral Commission website here and shows that not one MP was elected with over 50 per cent of the electorate (not just those voting).

The range goes from 17.6 per cent at the bottom to 46.1 per cent at the top. We're not claiming this means any MP does not have a democratic mandate – democracy is decided by those who turn up. But it certainly does put into context the Conservative party’s proposals to change the laws around strike ballots so that they will only be valid if 40 per cent of affected union members vote for it. Only 38 out of 650 MPs were elected by over 40 per cent of their electorate.

Aside from the obvious muzzling of workers with genuine disputes, this effectively means we would have two classes of democracy: one premier class of democracy for MPs where those who don’t vote don’t count; and a second class form for workers fighting for their rights where non-voters count as a vote against.

This is profoundly anti-democratic.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

UNISON Joins Campaign to save 190 Lollipop Wardens

UNISON campaigners have teamed up with joined Jack Dromey MP, the GMB and Unite to save Birmingham’s valuable school crossing wardens.



190 jobs are at risk due to Government cuts to Birmingham City Council, which is having to find hundreds of millions of pounds in savings next year alone. Jack Dromey MP, along with UNISON, GMB and Unite, are calling on Birmingham City Council to protect the roles along with the city’s children.

UNISON NEC member and local Labour candidate Mary Locke braved the freezing conditions to speak to parents in one Birmingham school about the proposed cuts.

Mary said:

We are fighting to protect our wardens because they protect our children. They play a crucial role in not only keeping our children safe in and out of school, but in educating the many students they see every day in the importance of road safety. They do a fantastic job and I am proud to represent UNISON in challenging the Council to rethink this decision.

Mark New, Regional Organiser, added:

“I would like to thank Jack Dromey MP, the GMB and Unite for the terrific partnership working that this campaign has benefited from. We must not forget that we are facing this problem in the first place because this Tory Government is punishing Birmingham with excessively heavy cuts, but we must challenge Birmingham City Council to make the right decision in not putting a price on our children’s’ safety.”