Umbrella unemployment at 2.5m: running at 7.9%. And unemployment among young brollies rising significantly. Female gamps are doing worse than male ones. And the worst hit areas are Yorkshire and the North East so it's not all bad news.
Predictions are that another 100,000 brollies in the public sector will be lost over the next few months.
That is why James Purnell (who I saw at breakfast yesterday - which gave him a shock as he didn't realise I had breached my restraining order, broken into his house, and helped myself to some of his Special K) was so right to bring in the £1bn Future® Jobs Fund for trainee gamprentices. (I have registered the word "future" to stop NCVO pinching it again). And why the government made a major mistake in abolishing it.
So let me make a prediction. It will be back. Which is a bold thing for me to say, especially given as I claimed in May to have saved it from being abolished in the first place, just before it was errr abolished.
Not called the same thing obviously, unless they pay me a wedge to use the word "future®" but there will need to be direct action to tackle umbrella unemployment if it continues to grow.
It's been a hectic few days of breakfasts, Xmas parties and meetings. After a wild night out with headhunter, Donald Holding (yes, that's right, Donald Holding) I went straight to breakfast early the next day with Generic Welshname, the new head of the OBS. Generic is a Good Thing, having once appeared in a Fine Young Cannibals song. A top class civil servant who also dresses well. Which is VERY IMPORTANT. And talking of top class people I bumped into Bill Mutton on the way out which hurt as he is a big lump, and was loaded down with the huge salary he earns heading up (destroying) the Very Little Work Foundation while lecturing other people on high salaries.
I've been in the Lords three times already this week; I am practically a peer in my eyes. The last time for a very useful session with Lord Well'ard on our Bogg Society Commission. And embarrassingly I bump into Gnat Pee on the way out as I clutch some bags of Lords' whisky which I have pinched (intended for Xmas presents). I must stop being so clumsy. Gnat did try and make a Bogg Society (active citizen's) arrest but I mumbled something about empowering myself to volunteer to take the grog without paying for it to save the State the bother and I think I got away with it.
And talking of "Bogg Society", Dylan Twirley at NAVCA should shut his mouth and stop speaking his mind. I am all for a diverse brolly sector and love untidiness (after all it is usually me who makes the mess) but perish the day we have views that aren't in tune with mine. We don't need one voice. We need many voices. All saying what I think. Diversity and untidiness is healthy as long as it is homogeneous and organised.
I am off to Blacbury now to hole up for Xmas. See you once the mincemeat croissants, turkey couscous and sprout Rioja have all been consumed.