Camden’s women are being left behind in jobs market

New leader of Camden Council Sarah Hayward

New leader of Camden Council Sarah Hayward - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Leader of the council Sarah Hayward said it was important that the independent Equalities Taskforce Report was carried out so facts could be established to inform recommendations to help shape future policy.

According to the report, the proportion of women in working part-time in Camden is 9.9 per cent, compared to a national average of 21.2 per cent, while the rate of 16 to 19-year-olds not in work or education is 7.4 per cent.

It also found that white children eligible for free school meals, black African children and looked-after children were persistently underachieving compared to their peers.

Cllr Hayward said: “I believe it’s imperative we use this to act and get under the skin of the issues, who they affect and what levers we can use to solve them.

“It’s ambitious; these are big entrenched issues, and it’s not just the council, we need central government and the Mayor of London to act.

“We will be challenging businesses and asking them, ‘What responsibility are you taking with helping us with youth unemployment and helping graduates get into work?’”

She said that in future all new jobs at the council would offer flexible or part-time hours to help mothers find work, while contractors employed by the authority would be required to do the same.

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A more detailed action plan addressing all the taskforce’s recommendations will be published in September.

Cllr Hayward said: “There’s a national debate about cuts and austerity. Everything is too expensive and too complex.

“But the particular symptoms and causes are different in every area, so this report is about making sure we understand the evidence base. Things have changed so rapidly since the recession so this is about taking a breath and asking, ‘Are we still on the right track and how do we use every resource?’

“You should provide an external challenge to yourself from time to time to put you back on the right track and the time was right to do that.

“I go out all the time and get a good feel for what is happening but it’s about marrying that to the evidence base. Having someone external and fresh come in adds impetus.”