Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Addressing The Jobs Issue

Throughout the Liverpool Waters saga there has been a repeated refrain from the scheme's supporters, namely, that it will create jobs in an area suffering from chronic levels of unemployment. Taken in isolation, it's a seemingly compelling argument. No one on Merseyside can be in a state of ignorance about both present levels of unemployment & the "structural", ie., historical levels; many of those made redundant in the 80s found themselves unemployable, their children & now grandchildren growing up in households where joblessness was the norm. The absence of a bread winner (& role model) created an environment where large numbers of the working class became the underclass over three decades.
Given that historical background, it's scarcely surprising that those eagerly backing Peel's plans cite the jobs issue. That's understandable. What's less understandable, however, is the seeming promise of many long-term jobs arising from the scheme from those who should know better.
It's a myth which has persisted for too long. How, ironic, therefore, that the myth has been exposed, at least partially, by Oldham Hall Street ( ).
Just one in ten of the construction jobs on Liverpool Waters will be allocated to people in the most impoverished north end wards of the city (Anfield, County, Everton & Kirkdale) as stipulated in an agreement between the city council & Peel. To take the case of Everton ward, the article spells it out starkly:
"Unemployment in Everton alone is 40% of the population, almost twice the Liverpool average."
Bear in mind that's the official figure.
As for Mayor Anderson's response, it was less than reassuring:
"Mayor Anderson said: 'These figures have not been run past me. It will be more.
" 'We are sending a clear message to every developer that we will be expecting them to deliver local jobs.' "
That sounds more like a vague hope than a specific commitment.
It also begs the question how the council can renegotiate that paltry 10% figure with Peel in the hope of increasing it when the agreement already signed is legally binding.
Yes, the north end of Liverpool needs jobs. Badly. However, what's on offer from the Liverpool Waters behemoth is no more than a mirage.

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