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The policy response to unemployment depends on where you consider it from. David Donnison argues that London-based government advisers are fixated on supply-side solutions because there are plenty of jobs in the southeast

By David Donnison   January 1998

Even now, on the crest of a boom, the costs of UK unemployment (benefits plus lost income tax) come to about ?15 billion a year. A few years ago, in the trough of a slump, it was ?24 billion-that is, before taking account of the other costs associated with unemployment: family break-up, crime and so on. Compare these figures with the ?97 billion spent on the whole welfare system and it becomes evident why this government is taking the problem so seriously, despite the fact that the jobless total is low by recent standards.

The government is meeting representatives of…

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