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At the wrong end of the rainbow? Unemployment in Blaenau Gwent

January 20th 2015

Arc en ciel

This report for Blaenau Gwent Communities First North Ebbw Fach Cluster looks at the experiences of unemployed people in the area.

The research is based on interviews with people participating in the Work Club in Winchestown, Brynmawr.  It finds that Blaenau Gwent has the most difficult job market in the whole of Wales and possibly the UK. It has lost more than quarter of its semi- and unskilled jobs, and now has high levels of long-term unemployment.

It challenges some of the myths about unemployment, revealing a willingness to accept almost any job, except zero hours and commission-only jobs which do not support themselves and their families.  It found that experiences of the Work Programme were variable but those of the Work Club were positive.   A significant minority of those interviewed had had their benefits sanctioned, usually for reasons that people felt were arbitrary or unfair. Being sanctioned seems to distract people from looking for work rather than encouraging them.

The people interviewed experienced considerable hardship, with only a tiny minority being able to afford to eat healthily and heat their homes adequately.

The report concludes that Blaenau Gwent needs significantly more, practical help for unemployed people to enable them to overcome the barriers they face. It also urgently needs both an increase in local employment and better access to opportunities elsewhere, especially by public transport.

Format: PDF, 1.1 MB
Length: 22pp
Language: English
Price: Free

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