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Is the situation in the UK really that bad?

Is the situation in the UK really that bad?

Old Sep 20th 2013, 2:23 am
  #826  
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Default Re: Is the situation in the UK really that bad?

Originally Posted by chris955 View Post
Yep, spot on. The situation for some in the UK is bad as it is for some in Australia, America, Spain or wherever else. Judging by what I see day to day the situation for the majority most definitely is not bad and in reality that is probably the best any country can wish for. The thing I struggle with is the belief that someone will find a better quality of life in another country when they would actually get that better life 100 miles down the road.
As Emporer says Australia has the same issues, everywhere has the same issues to one degree or another.
I take all your points, and I can see the validity of them, but I still struggle to reconcile the state of UK currently with being anything other than negative.

The fact the issues exist outside of the UK context doesn't, for me anyway, take away from those issues forming a social context, unique to the UK or not, which is conducive to large amount of socio-economic deprivation. For that reason alone, it does not change my view that the UK situation is, currently, very much bad.

Issues such as Poverty, Social Exclusion and Socio-economic Deprivation do indeed exist in all countries; to some extend, what differentiates the countries is the approach to these issues. Australia is currently investing into Social Services and still offering relocation packages for Social Workers I believe (I'm not Oz bound, but I believe that QLD is doing this as there was a recent drive at Salford University in which QLD representatives were present, but this could probably be confirmed by a Aussie resident?) The US has tailored training of Social Workers to address their particular issues, for example through the pathways for workers to train to deal with the 'top end' of services, i.e organisational and Government involvement stuff. NZ has, and still is, leading the way with research (Massey Uni in particular), practice (from the well know Family Group Conferences to a recent emphasis on Anti-Oppressive Practice) and investment for Social Services (see the recent nationwide recruitment for SWiS positions). In the UK we have currently put all of our efforts into; privatisation, statutory responsibilities, state sanctioned interventions (CPO, Care etc), scrutinising the claims of welfare claimants and pushing a medical approach to social issues (for example the Social Workers regulators now are clinical based not the old GSCC). I think this outlines how much the UK context, while not unique, is being dealt with in a way which is uniquely negative.

NZ Government has passed a law allowing for Gay Couples to marry if they see fit, breaking down social barriers. The UK is not addressing the issues it faces in a way which will produce change, or show any commitment to achieving change, in comparison the US, AUS as you mentioned.

I feel that the census, and in particular the research coming out from the BASW shows the opposite that the majority of country is doing well. More people are falling into the higher need categories of deprivation, of course this is regional, but the North West, North East and South West are pretty large regions to be accounted for. Yes, in comparison to how bad they (those who are suffering) 'could' be doing they may be seen to be, however for me this doesn't constitute doing well. Society fulfils it's obligations to it's citizens when it offers the best life opportunities possible in that historical context. The UK, in comparison to Spain or other EU countries recently hit hard by the recession, has a lot of social capital to invest to improve the lives of those left behind. However, this investment is not forthcoming under the pretext of the importance of profits and ensuring that London remains a financial hub.I find this a problematic aspect of the UK's situation.

My area of complete practical knowledge is the Greater Manchester area, so I can only rely on research publications such as the BASW work to paint a national picture. While I feel that the BASW can be biased towards their political stance, the general feel I get is nationwide it's getting pretty desperate for a sizable minority of families. There are wonderful beautiful towns that are not touched by these issues in the UK, but how long can we justify the state of the UK by saying 'it's fine, ignore the large cities of deprivation and live in the cotswalts, it's nice there.' It seems we're in danger of existing in our own bubble and not catching sight of the increasing levels of deprivation pushing into aspects of UK life.

For me the consideration is not how good the UK is in comparison to other countries, as this is not appropriate. I prefer to look at the UK as not living up to it's potential for all of society. Which makes me a bit pessimistic about the state of the UK currently.

Of course my view is tainted by political leanings, experience of work and location (as I live in the high need areas I get a negative view of the UK occasionaly.) But I feel this is only as much biased as a viewpoint formed in the rolling hills of beautiful rural Lancashire. I can completely see that I can't generalise from my experience, which I try not to, but I feel there is a trend in the UK which is becoming statistically observable in addition to anecdotally verifiable.

For me the question isn't 'in comparison', it's in relation to. In relation to the potential for the UK leaders to improve the situation of the UK and the social captial available to help change positively the situation in the UK, is the UK really that bad. I'd have to say Yes. Which is shame, because it's a beautiful place with a beautiful spirit, but this was formed through unity; which is now being irroded into an us and them paradigm.

Just my two cents.
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Old Sep 20th 2013, 7:52 am
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Default Re: Is the situation in the UK really that bad?

Thats absolutely fine, not everyone is going to agree on this, we should expect that. The consensus seems to be no it isnt that bad and that is most definitely our experience. We certainly wouldnt have brought our kids here if we thought the answer was yes. That isnt to say there isnt social deprevation in some areas, that is undeniable.
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Old Sep 20th 2013, 9:26 am
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Default Re: Is the situation in the UK really that bad?

Originally Posted by PuginAKL View Post
I take all your points, and I can see the validity of them, but I still struggle to reconcile the state of UK currently with being anything other than negative.

The fact the issues exist outside of the UK context doesn't, for me anyway, take away from those issues forming a social context, unique to the UK or not, which is conducive to large amount of socio-economic deprivation. For that reason alone, it does not change my view that the UK situation is, currently, very much bad.

Issues such as Poverty, Social Exclusion and Socio-economic Deprivation do indeed exist in all countries; to some extend, what differentiates the countries is the approach to these issues. Australia is currently investing into Social Services and still offering relocation packages for Social Workers I believe (I'm not Oz bound, but I believe that QLD is doing this as there was a recent drive at Salford University in which QLD representatives were present, but this could probably be confirmed by a Aussie resident?) The US has tailored training of Social Workers to address their particular issues, for example through the pathways for workers to train to deal with the 'top end' of services, i.e organisational and Government involvement stuff. NZ has, and still is, leading the way with research (Massey Uni in particular), practice (from the well know Family Group Conferences to a recent emphasis on Anti-Oppressive Practice) and investment for Social Services (see the recent nationwide recruitment for SWiS positions). In the UK we have currently put all of our efforts into; privatisation, statutory responsibilities, state sanctioned interventions (CPO, Care etc), scrutinising the claims of welfare claimants and pushing a medical approach to social issues (for example the Social Workers regulators now are clinical based not the old GSCC). I think this outlines how much the UK context, while not unique, is being dealt with in a way which is uniquely negative.

NZ Government has passed a law allowing for Gay Couples to marry if they see fit, breaking down social barriers. The UK is not addressing the issues it faces in a way which will produce change, or show any commitment to achieving change, in comparison the US, AUS as you mentioned.

I feel that the census, and in particular the research coming out from the BASW shows the opposite that the majority of country is doing well. More people are falling into the higher need categories of deprivation, of course this is regional, but the North West, North East and South West are pretty large regions to be accounted for. Yes, in comparison to how bad they (those who are suffering) 'could' be doing they may be seen to be, however for me this doesn't constitute doing well. Society fulfils it's obligations to it's citizens when it offers the best life opportunities possible in that historical context. The UK, in comparison to Spain or other EU countries recently hit hard by the recession, has a lot of social capital to invest to improve the lives of those left behind. However, this investment is not forthcoming under the pretext of the importance of profits and ensuring that London remains a financial hub.I find this a problematic aspect of the UK's situation.

My area of complete practical knowledge is the Greater Manchester area, so I can only rely on research publications such as the BASW work to paint a national picture. While I feel that the BASW can be biased towards their political stance, the general feel I get is nationwide it's getting pretty desperate for a sizable minority of families. There are wonderful beautiful towns that are not touched by these issues in the UK, but how long can we justify the state of the UK by saying 'it's fine, ignore the large cities of deprivation and live in the cotswalts, it's nice there.' It seems we're in danger of existing in our own bubble and not catching sight of the increasing levels of deprivation pushing into aspects of UK life.

For me the consideration is not how good the UK is in comparison to other countries, as this is not appropriate. I prefer to look at the UK as not living up to it's potential for all of society. Which makes me a bit pessimistic about the state of the UK currently.

Of course my view is tainted by political leanings, experience of work and location (as I live in the high need areas I get a negative view of the UK occasionaly.) But I feel this is only as much biased as a viewpoint formed in the rolling hills of beautiful rural Lancashire. I can completely see that I can't generalise from my experience, which I try not to, but I feel there is a trend in the UK which is becoming statistically observable in addition to anecdotally verifiable.

For me the question isn't 'in comparison', it's in relation to. In relation to the potential for the UK leaders to improve the situation of the UK and the social captial available to help change positively the situation in the UK, is the UK really that bad. I'd have to say Yes. Which is shame, because it's a beautiful place with a beautiful spirit, but this was formed through unity; which is now being irroded into an us and them paradigm.

Just my two cents.
It seems to me Pug that you are simply voicing an opinion. And a pretty narrow one at that.
I would be interested in seeing the statistics to which you refer. The indices of deprivation to which you refer are relative indices, so would not seem to support your conclusion, in fact, logically, would do the opposite.

There are a couple of points I would make. Firstly, most people on this thread are looking to return to the UK and are interested in the economics of how they survive in the UK. The number in work in the UK is rising, and has done so for several years now. Therefore they are more likely to get a job. (73.6 percent of the population is economically active in the UK. In the USA, for example, the equivalent measure is 63.1 percent.)

Pay levels - Broadly, job losses have mainly been in the public sector, (about 400 thousand) and job creation in the private (about 1Million). As the public sector is paid more than the private sector, average pay will necessarily decline – which it has. However, the Government has reduced substantially the tax levied in the lower paid, as a result of which , real take home pay has fallen in just the one year since the Coalition took office.

Real take home pay in the UK remains the third highest in the developed world according to the latest OECD survey, far ahead of the USA, Australia or even Germany.

Perhaps the thread ought to be renamed "Is the situation in the UK really that good".
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Old Sep 20th 2013, 10:21 am
  #829  
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Default Re: Is the situation in the UK really that bad?

Originally Posted by PuginAKL View Post
I take all your points, and I can see the validity of them, but I still struggle to reconcile the state of UK currently with being anything other than negative.

The fact the issues exist outside of the UK context doesn't, for me anyway, take away from those issues forming a social context, unique to the UK or not, which is conducive to large amount of socio-economic deprivation. For that reason alone, it does not change my view that the UK situation is, currently, very much bad.

Issues such as Poverty, Social Exclusion and Socio-economic Deprivation do indeed exist in all countries; to some extend, what differentiates the countries is the approach to these issues. Australia is currently investing into Social Services and still offering relocation packages for Social Workers I believe (I'm not Oz bound, but I believe that QLD is doing this as there was a recent drive at Salford University in which QLD representatives were present, but this could probably be confirmed by a Aussie resident?) The US has tailored training of Social Workers to address their particular issues, for example through the pathways for workers to train to deal with the 'top end' of services, i.e organisational and Government involvement stuff. NZ has, and still is, leading the way with research (Massey Uni in particular), practice (from the well know Family Group Conferences to a recent emphasis on Anti-Oppressive Practice) and investment for Social Services (see the recent nationwide recruitment for SWiS positions). In the UK we have currently put all of our efforts into; privatisation, statutory responsibilities, state sanctioned interventions (CPO, Care etc), scrutinising the claims of welfare claimants and pushing a medical approach to social issues (for example the Social Workers regulators now are clinical based not the old GSCC). I think this outlines how much the UK context, while not unique, is being dealt with in a way which is uniquely negative.

NZ Government has passed a law allowing for Gay Couples to marry if they see fit, breaking down social barriers. The UK is not addressing the issues it faces in a way which will produce change, or show any commitment to achieving change, in comparison the US, AUS as you mentioned.

I feel that the census, and in particular the research coming out from the BASW shows the opposite that the majority of country is doing well. More people are falling into the higher need categories of deprivation, of course this is regional, but the North West, North East and South West are pretty large regions to be accounted for. Yes, in comparison to how bad they (those who are suffering) 'could' be doing they may be seen to be, however for me this doesn't constitute doing well. Society fulfils it's obligations to it's citizens when it offers the best life opportunities possible in that historical context. The UK, in comparison to Spain or other EU countries recently hit hard by the recession, has a lot of social capital to invest to improve the lives of those left behind. However, this investment is not forthcoming under the pretext of the importance of profits and ensuring that London remains a financial hub.I find this a problematic aspect of the UK's situation.

My area of complete practical knowledge is the Greater Manchester area, so I can only rely on research publications such as the BASW work to paint a national picture. While I feel that the BASW can be biased towards their political stance, the general feel I get is nationwide it's getting pretty desperate for a sizable minority of families. There are wonderful beautiful towns that are not touched by these issues in the UK, but how long can we justify the state of the UK by saying 'it's fine, ignore the large cities of deprivation and live in the cotswalts, it's nice there.' It seems we're in danger of existing in our own bubble and not catching sight of the increasing levels of deprivation pushing into aspects of UK life.

For me the consideration is not how good the UK is in comparison to other countries, as this is not appropriate. I prefer to look at the UK as not living up to it's potential for all of society. Which makes me a bit pessimistic about the state of the UK currently.

[COLOR="Blue"]Of course my view is tainted by political leanings, experience of work and location (as I live in the high need areas I get a negative view of the UK occasionaly.) But I feel this is only as much biased as a viewpoint formed in the rolling hills of beautiful rural Lancashire. I can completely see that I can't generalise from my experience, which I try not to, but I feel there is a trend in the UK which is becoming statistically observable in addition to anecdotally verifiable.

For me the question isn't 'in comparison', it's in relation to. In relation to the potential for the UK leaders to improve the situation of the UK and the social captial available to help change positively the situation in the UK, is the UK really that bad. I'd have to say Yes. Which is shame, because it's a beautiful place with a beautiful spirit, but this was formed through unity; which is now being irroded into an us and them paradigm.

Just my two cents.
Wow!! I reckon there's a full five quid there!

First and second italics: impressive vernacular, but not as impressive as the simple and friendly approach in other topics...

I've lived in Aus for a good while now, and talked to someone in social welfare this afternoon (Aus). And I am only too well aware of the views of a neighbour who is a qualified social worker with seventeen years experience. Both feel that your views of 'the other side of the hill' are somewhat idealistic, but as a newly qualified social worker who is soon to leave the UK, that is to be expected.
It's all to easy to form that rosy glow isn't it? though I haven't yet seen anywhere on Returning the view that we say..what was it? 'it's fine, ignore the large cities of deprivation and live in the Cotswolds, it's nice there'!! No one is 'existing in their own bubble'.

Somewhat patronising I suggest, or perhaps just born out of idealism and lack of experience. I say that because if you spend more time in this area, you will see the inordinate effort some posters have made to NOT be accused of that!
Where are we now? 54 pages? That is how compelling it has been to portray the UK as it has been. By both 'sides'.

'Not appropriate' for you. I am too old ugly and bloody cynical to have any ideals left. I am crucially aware of the problems in the UK, and whether other posters like it or they don't; I will continue to make the comparison on the basis that each country has its own problems.
It is not-repeat not, just the UK.

I have been involved in research and more intense commitment, of the abuse of children for over 18 years. I raise that, because that research has been global. I started it because of one specific case that haunted me.
I raise this because unfortunately you will find that there is an unacceptably high incidence of child abuse in New Zealand.

It is debatable just who is naive here. I truly wish you well in your new life-to do anything else would be churlish. However, you will find that each country carries its dark side.
I cannot vouch for the veracity or integrity of NZ polishituns, but I sure as hell can for Australian polishituns; the highest paid of any Western style democracy.
Do we get value for money from these creatures who built a Palace to work in?; hell no!

Others have touched on this: you have to be away from the UK to appreciate it. That may happen to you; it may not. You may settle well in your new country of choice.
Others having experienced another country/s return and settle happily in the UK (..and yes some will not). But I repeat-some will and have, and they should not continually have to run the gamut of 'UK=bad'.

UK forum or not; when that ad nauseum .rap occurs-I will put up the comparison-because it IS appropriate.

Just my 10 quids worth.
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Old Sep 20th 2013, 12:03 pm
  #830  
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Default Re: Is the situation in the UK really that bad?

Originally Posted by TheEmperorIsNaked View Post
Originally Posted by roaringmouse View Post
I don't know if that's one of the countries that the poster, chris955, obviously had in mind.

It would be interesting to know from him which countries both avoided recession and have seen a rapid increase of food banks, pay day loan shops, bookmakers and charity shops.
Didn't we tackle this habit fairly early in this thread?
Not sure what point you're attempting to make with that. A poster made what seems to be a statement of fact, I asked a follow up question in regards to that statement. Not sure what's wrong with asking such a question in order that the poster can validate their statement
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Old Sep 20th 2013, 12:06 pm
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Default Re: Is the situation in the UK really that bad?

Originally Posted by chris955 View Post
The consensus seems to be no it isnt that bad and that is most definitely our experience.
Not sure if you understand the word consensus, as there doesn't seem to be a consensus of opinion in this thread when taking in everyone who has posted either way.
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Old Sep 20th 2013, 12:16 pm
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Default Re: Is the situation in the UK really that bad?

Originally Posted by bigglesworth View Post
It seems to me Pug that you are simply voicing an opinion. And a pretty narrow one at that.
I do like such irony.
Originally Posted by bigglesworth View Post
Perhaps the thread ought to be renamed "Is the situation in the UK really that good".
I see we're back to that, like when you suggested that reducing unemployment by 4,000 is a heck of an achievement that any country in the world would envy.
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Old Sep 20th 2013, 1:42 pm
  #833  
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Default Re: Is the situation in the UK really that bad?

Originally Posted by bigglesworth View Post
It seems to me Pug that you are simply voicing an opinion. And a pretty narrow one at that.
I would be interested in seeing the statistics to which you refer. The indices of deprivation to which you refer are relative indices, so would not seem to support your conclusion, in fact, logically, would do the opposite.

There are a couple of points I would make. Firstly, most people on this thread are looking to return to the UK and are interested in the economics of how they survive in the UK. The number in work in the UK is rising, and has done so for several years now. Therefore they are more likely to get a job. (73.6 percent of the population is economically active in the UK. In the USA, for example, the equivalent measure is 63.1 percent.)
Just to add, many looking to return to the UK are retired or transitioning from work to retirement. This usually means they have their future income sources in place and can then choose where to live guided by availability of housing at affordable prices, and various lifestyle criteria, also healthcare availability etc. in this respect the UK looks a lot better than where I live, the US. Just one factor, public transport, for instance ..
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Old Sep 20th 2013, 2:05 pm
  #834  
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Default Re: Is the situation in the UK really that bad?

Originally Posted by roaringmouse View Post
I do like such irony.I see we're back to that, like when you suggested that reducing unemployment by 4,000 is a heck of an achievement that any country in the world would envy.
You do like to misquote don't you?
What I said was reducing unemployment by 4,000 a month when the work force had increased by more than TEN TIMES that amount over the same period was an achievement that any country would envy.

That would equate an annual increase of about 600 thousand jobs. A two percent per annum increase in the middle of the worst recession the country has known in a century. It is nothing short of phenomenal.

Over the last year, despite the reduction in public sector employment, the total number employed in the UK has risen by 343,000. That is an increaser of over one percent In what way exactly do you find that a failure?

I am sure one as open minded as yourself will be only too pleased to list all those countries bettering that record.

That last, incidentally, WAS ironic. Perhaps you should look it up.
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Old Sep 20th 2013, 2:18 pm
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Default Re: Is the situation in the UK really that bad?

Originally Posted by robin1234 View Post
Just to add, many looking to return to the UK are retired or transitioning from work to retirement. This usually means they have their future income sources in place and can then choose where to live guided by availability of housing at affordable prices, and various lifestyle criteria, also healthcare availability etc. in this respect the UK looks a lot better than where I live, the US. Just one factor, public transport, for instance ..
Having recently started to consider the prospects of early retirement (hopefully only 1,612 days to go ...), I wholeheartedly agree with your point. Living in the UK, or elsewhere, is a different kettle of fish when you are retired than when you are working or looking for work.

It also adds perspective to so much of the disagreement that accompanies this debate - the answer to the question depends so much on your personal circumstances. There is no absolute answer to the question, regardless of whether people try to "prove" that there is.
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Old Sep 20th 2013, 2:44 pm
  #836  
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Default Re: Is the situation in the UK really that bad?

Originally Posted by dunroving View Post
Having recently started to consider the prospects of early retirement (hopefully only 1,612 days to go ...), I wholeheartedly agree with your point. Living in the UK, or elsewhere, is a different kettle of fish when you are retired than when you are working or looking for work.

It also adds perspective to so much of the disagreement that accompanies this debate - the answer to the question depends so much on your personal circumstances. There is no absolute answer to the question, regardless of whether people try to "prove" that there is.
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Old Sep 20th 2013, 2:44 pm
  #837  
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Default Re: Is the situation in the UK really that bad?

I wish I was on the countdown to (early) retirement. A while to go yet although I have been very fortunate to bag a job in one of the last few industries with final salary pension schemes open to new entrants.

__________________________________________________ ___________

Some months on from my original post on this thread, our verdict is that it's not that bad, no. We both have salaries that equal or exceed our equivalents before we returned, although I have had to do a career 180. We are enjoying exploring the local area and love being able to visit the many interesting towns and cities we have nearby. I think both my OH and I would say our weekends are better here. We are very much looking forward to trips to Europe which are no doubt a great deal easier to arrange and afford since moving back! I enjoy the banter I have with the people I come into contact with - I work with the general public every day.

The same negatives apply that I have mentioned previously.

I do think there is a palpable sense that the worst might be over; there is a sense of hope and looking to the future that was perhaps missing even a year ago.
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Old Sep 20th 2013, 2:44 pm
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Default Re: Is the situation in the UK really that bad?

I wish I was on the countdown to (early) retirement. A while to go yet although I have been very fortunate to bag a job in one of the last few industries with final salary pension schemes open to new entrants.

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Some months on from my original post on this thread, our verdict is that it's not that bad, no. We both have salaries that equal or exceed our equivalents before we returned, although I have had to do a career 180. We are enjoying exploring the local area and love being able to visit the many interesting towns and cities we have nearby. I think both my OH and I would say our weekends are better here. We are very much looking forward to trips to Europe which are no doubt a great deal easier to arrange and afford since moving back! I enjoy the banter I have with the people I come into contact with - I work with the general public every day.

The same negatives apply that I have mentioned previously.

I do think there is a palpable sense that the worst might be over; there is a sense of hope and looking to the future that was perhaps missing even a year ago.
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Old Sep 20th 2013, 3:50 pm
  #839  
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Default Re: Is the situation in the UK really that bad?

Originally Posted by bigglesworth View Post
Originally Posted by roaringmouse View Post
I see we're back to that, like when you suggested that reducing unemployment by 4,000 is a heck of an achievement that any country in the world would envy.
You do like to misquote don't you?
I didn't misquote. I quoted the main point of your earlier statement and linked to it so it could be easily seen exactly what you said.
Originally Posted by bigglesworth View Post
What I said was reducing unemployment by 4,000 a month when the work force had increased by more than TEN TIMES that amount over the same period was an achievement that any country would envy.
And it still doesn't even make a dent in the unemployment figures, as I previously replied. The unemployment rate was 7.8% before the 4,000 were removed from the unemployment figure, and it remained 7.8% after 4,000 was removed.

This month the reduction in unemployment was 24,000 which did move the rate from 7.8% to 7.7%. I would be surprised if you didn't hold a huge party for that reduction with your low expectations. However the rate doesn't show the full story, because that article also says
However, the number of people working part-time because they cannot find a full-time job rose to 1.45 million, the highest since records began in 1992 and double the number of five years ago.

Almost a third of men working part-time were doing so because they could not find full-time employment. The corresponding figure for women was 13.5%
For those fortunate enough to have a job, underemployment is a huge problem that also needs addressing.
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Old Sep 20th 2013, 3:52 pm
  #840  
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Default Re: Is the situation in the UK really that bad?

Originally Posted by dunroving View Post
There is no absolute answer to the question, regardless of whether people try to "prove" that there is.
Indeed, that is so.
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