Esther McVey’s latest jobs claims are so brazen even Andrew Neil is ripping them to shreds

Andrew Neil and Esther McVey
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The BBC‘s Andrew Neil has popped the bubble of work and pensions secretary Esther McVey and rubbished her claim that “supporting the youth of this country has been a top priority of this government since 2010”.


McVey tweeted an article she wrote for the Daily Express, boasting about low youth unemployment:

She focuses specifically on the DWP’s commitment to apprenticeships, boasting that:

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there have been more than 1.4million starts since 2015.

Yet even Neil, who has faced repeated criticism for his right-wing views and affiliations, saw through McVey’s bluster:

Fake apprenticeships?

Between August 2017 and March 2018, apprenticeship starts dropped by 27.92%. And Neil states that these statistics are “riddled with fake apprenticeships”. Parenta, a leading provider of childcare apprenticeships, describes typical ‘fake apprenticeships’:

Employers are bringing in young workers and labelling them as apprentices, however, these learners are then finishing their ‘course’ with part (if any) qualifications and no real adequate learning or experience.

This is an experience that seems worryingly common:

And the Times reported that the government has “little chance” of meeting its target of creating “three million apprenticeships by April 2020”.

Don’t believe the hype

Whenever the government gloats about rising employment statistics, it’s important to revisit its definition of employment:

Therefore, the government considers someone who works only an hour a week as employed. This is significant, as this government has presided over a meteoric rise in zero-hours contracts. Between 2010 and 2013, the number of people employed in this manner increased threefold to 582,935. And official statistics from 2017 state that this figure now sits at 901,000.

Research by the Resolution Foundation found that 33% of people on zero-hours contracts are aged 16 to 24, meaning that McVey’s delirium at lowering youth unemployment should be taken with a hefty pinch of salt.

As the BBC reported, a recent report by Child Poverty Action Group found:

Low-earning parents working full-time are still unable to earn enough to provide their family with a basic, no-frills lifestyle.

If people working full time can’t make ends meet, then someone working one hour a week hasn’t got a hope in hell. It’s no wonder in-work poverty is at an all-time high.

The messenger is key

When even Neil is openly calling out the government, you know something is seriously wrong:

It’s critical to remember that, when it comes to this government’s ‘good news stories’, there’s always more than meets the eye.

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Featured image via BBCNews/YouTube and BHeardMedia/YouTube 

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