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Women's unemployment rise feared

The number of unemployed women is set to rise beyond the current 23-year high as the Government's public sector cuts start to bite, union leaders have warned.

The TUC made the prediction after research found that the proportion of women employed in the public sector had risen at three times the rate of men over the past decade.

There are now 735,000 more women working in jobs such as teaching, nursing and in local government than 10 years ago, with high levels of women in the public sector in regions including the North East, North West, West Midlands and Yorkshire & the Humber.

As employment levels in the public sector have grown, jobs in traditionally male-dominated manufacturing have fallen, said the TUC.

General secretary Brendan Barber said: "Female unemployment is already at a 23-year high and, with so many women employed in the public sector, this will only deteriorate as job cuts in our health, education, local government and civil service continue to mount.

"The rising number of women in work has been a great success story of the last decade, but as childcare and child benefits are cut, vital services including education and health are pared back and women's job losses mount, we risk moving backwards and reducing, rather than improving, women's opportunities in the workplace.

"Cuts have started affecting the public sector and we know the pain is already being felt in the areas where public sector employment is more concentrated. Government complacency over growth is now coming back to haunt the UK and the Chancellor's plans for job creation are woefully inadequate.

"The TUC is calling on the Government to do far more to boost investment in the private sector, and to think again about its spending cuts. Our economy simply can't afford to lose a decade of social progress."

A spokesman for the Department for work and Pensions said: "We are committed to helping all jobseekers back into sustainable employment. Women who are looking for a job should visit their local Jobcentre where they will be given advice and be able to take advantage of the 10,000 jobs we take every working day.

"We have launched the Work Programme which will give people tailored support to get back into work. The Work Programme is different to previous schemes as it assesses people to discover what barriers are preventing them from getting a job and will then work with them to overcome these problems."


From Belfast Telegraph