Alex MacDonald & Daniel Pryor
Below are the top 200 constituencies which claim ‘Unemployment Related Benefits’, which since 1996 has meant Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). JSA is at least £56.80 per week but it can be more depending on your circumstances.
Have a look through the data below and see what you think for yourself. We’ve added our own analysis below for you to view.
Furthermore, should you wish to view the full 650 constituencies, there is an option for you to do so at the very bottom of this article.
We have compiled data of the highest 200 constituencies based on how much of a percent of the population claims Job Seekers’ Allowance.
From analysing this data, much of what we expected remains true: Labour seats are held in areas which are poorer / slightly poorer than Conservative or Liberal Democrat areas.
Out of the highest 50 JSA claiming constituencies, Labour control 42, which makes 84%.
At the highest 100 JSA constituencies and including Northern Irish constituencies, Labour retain 84% of total number of seats. However, take away Northern Irish constituencies (as Labour do not stand in Northern Ireland), and Labour hold 90% of these seats.
At the highest 200 JSA claiming constituencies and with Northern Irish parties, Labour dominate with 157 seats. Take away the Northern Irish parties once more, and we find that just 28 of the highest 200 JSA constituencies are controlled by a non-Labour English, Scottish, or Welsh party – all areas where Labour have stood.
Many political commentators emphasise the battlegrounds where the rhetorical conflicts between politicians fight it out for the electorate as key for election campaigns. Welfare is, in our view, the one area where the Conservative Party should be extending its reach due to the dominance of Labour on an unpopular sector of government.
Welfare spending is approximately, three times the size of British defence spending. The reforms from Iain Duncan Smith are very popular with the electorate, and according to a Labour “Poll Expert” allowing the Conservatives to dominate in this area.
Furthermore, from the data above, it is clear that the areas affected by cuts to JSA and other welfare related areas, are not likely – if ever – to vote Conservative. Instead they look to Labour to help them maintain their benefits, as Labour are supposedly the party which protects the poor.
This scenario is a tough one for Labour: Failure for Ed Miliband to address the problems of the welfare system could leave marginal seats open to stronger rhetoric from other parties. On the other hand, should Miliband present a strong case on benefit reductions, it is possible that he may lose some support in high JSA claiming constituencies.
It’s not a good place to be for the Labour party. And that is why the Tories should push on with welfare reforms.
For a larger data sample, we have compiled the full 650 seats via JSA claimants. Click here for a download. Please reference The Backbencher in any future articles / research which use this data.