"Lowest unemployment in 30 years"
The official UK unemployment count fell below one million
(950,300) in August 2001 the "lowest since 1975".
The method used to count the unemployed was changed over
30 times by the previous (Conservative) government
each change was designed to give a lower count (by not counting
certain categories of jobless people).
Prior to being elected in 1997, New Labour strongly
objected to the official count, claiming that the real unemployment
count was much higher (they claimed 1 in 5 households were
jobless). But now New Labour seem happy to go along
with the misleading official "claimant count" figure*,
while spending billions of pounds on schemes (such as the
New Deal) which artificially
lower the unemployed count.
[*The official jobless figure counts only
those claiming Jobseekers Allowance. This count of claimants
gives the lowest measure of unemployment, and is widely mistrusted.
In 1995, the Royal Statistical Society called for a new monthly
count to be derived from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), which
provides an unemployment count based on internationally agreed
definitions of what constitutes an unemployed jobseeker. A
report by the Church of England, Unemployment and the Future
of Work, endorsed a figure of 4.5 million unemployed in
the UK in 1996].