London unemployment rate falls slightly but is still second highest in UK

London unemployment rate falls slightly but is still second highest in UK

The percentage of working age Londoners without a job fell fractionally between April and June compared with the previous three months, according to government estimates released today.

The capital’s unemployment rate among over-16s dropped by 0.1% to 4.6% in the second quarter of 2022, putting it at the same level as the West Midlands and lower than only the North East, where the rate is 5.1%. The UK average rate is 3.8%.

London’s rate has fall by 1.8% compared with the same April-June period in 2021, the second largest decrease in the country over that period (after the East Midlands 1.9%), reflecting the relatively greater impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the capital.

Responding to the figures, Nick Bowes, chief executive of think tank Centre for London, welcomed the unemployment reductions but stressed that “with wages falling and costs rising sharply, the squeeze on Londoners is tightening by the month” with energy bills in particular on a sharp upward course, along with rents and mortgage rates.

“Those with the lowest incomes are in desperate need of additional support from the government,” Bowes added, “but given the scale of the financial hit coming down the line, many more Londoners will be struggling with bills over the winter months and may also need financial help to cope.”

The government is under considerable pressure to do more to help people across the country cope with the rising cost of living, with outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson on holiday and his potential successors, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former Chancellor Rishi Sunk, seeking the votes of Conservative Party members.

The government says it is “providing £37 billion of support this year, targeted at those who are most in need,” with “millions” of households receiving a minimum of £1,200 “in total this year” including a rebate of “at least £400 a year”, which will go to all domestic electricity customers whatever their income.

A YouGov opinion poll conducted in the middle of last month for the Greater London Authority found that one in five Londoners earning less than £20,000 a year have been regularly or occasionally going without food or essential items or relied on “outside support” to avoid this.

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