- By Libby Quinn
The worst effects of the European recession risk becoming permanent, according to a leading think tank
The IPPR‘s latest report pointed to the high level of unemployment, homelessness and underemployment across Europe and said the chances of these becoming entrenched is “deeply alarming”. It said there was 10% unemployment and a 5% underemployment rate as an average of the entire continent of Europe. Stating that the UK’s main problem was low productivity.
The official unemployment rate for the 28 countries in the EU was 9.3% in September, down from 9.4% the previous month. The rate in the 19 countries that use the euro stood at 10.8%, down from 10.9% in August.
The IPPR said that unemployed workers risked being left behind as globalisation and technological progress lead to changes in the skills that employers require.
Germany sets the gold standard
The report suggested that European countries look to Germany as a good example of maintaining workplace skills and high productivity rates.
Germany, Europe’s largest economy, often seen as that all too rare success story of European economics and social living standards, invests 50% more on average than other countries in research and development.
UK bringing up the rear
The report also found that the UK’s in-work training had fallen by 4 percentage points since 2008, the largest decline for any EU country.
The IPPR said it welcomed the apprenticeship levy and the target for creating three million apprenticeships. However, it called on the Chancellor, George Osborne, to hold off making any further cuts to the education and adult skills budget, warnings not heeded as today’s budget only promised to further cripple the masses forcing more into homelessness and bankruptcy, in a nation where the leading cause of adult death over the age of 35 is already suicide.
Earlier this year London introduced “Anti-Homeless Spikes” to stop homeless people sleeping, sitting or resting, as this was making “the wealthy feel uncomfortable”.
Catherine Colebrook, IPPR chief economist, said: “For the UK, the task for policy makers will be to ensure that the UK continues to invest in developing the skills it needs to compete globally. It is striking that adult participation in education and training in the UK has fallen since 2008 by more than in any other country, at a time when participation has increased across most of Europe. Investment in the country’s skills should be a priority for the Chancellor.”