Economic wellbeing requires an income level
that sustains a reasonable quality of life, financial resources to
provide a buffer against adversity, and opportunities for
satisfying employment for those who are, or wish to be,
The relationship between income and health and
wellbeing is well documented (Marmot 2010 pg. 74 and LHIN 2013) and
involves not only employment income but, importantly, ensuring full
take-up of eligible benefits for vulnerable residents.
This section of the JSNA concentrates upon the
impact of employment on economic wellbeing, and on the measures
being taken to reduce the barriers to employment and broaden
available routes into employment for local residents.
For those of working age, and increasingly for
older people who wish or need to remain in the labour force,
good-quality employment is not only the surest path to avoiding
deprivation but has major benefits for wellbeing:
Work can strengthen social connections and
it can provide a sense of meaning, purpose and value which are
important for encouraging feelings of self-worth and
satisfaction. (LGID, 2010)
The Marmot Review identifies 3 ways in which
unemployment affects levels of morbidity and mortality:
- Lowers living standards,
reduces social integration and lowers self-esteem
- Triggers distress, anxiety
- Impacts on health behaviour
– increased smoking and alcohol consumption, and decreased physical
exercise. (Marmot 2010, pg. 69)
The relationship between unemployment and poor
health runs in both directions. Unemployment contributes to
ill-health, and poor health increases the likelihood of
unemployment, and the two can become mutually reinforcing.
Being in paid work is not, of course, always a
guarantee of wellbeing, and many people in employment earn
inadequate incomes and their workplace is a source of distress.
It must also be recognised that many people
who live in poverty are in paid employment, but that this
employment does not provide them with a living wage. The Office for
National Statistics (ONS) estimates 23% of jobs in the UK outside
London pay less than the living wage. The level among females
(29%) is much higher than males (18%).
In Bedford Borough, ONS estimates that 20.6% of jobs, equating
to around 15,000 jobs, paid less than the living wage in 2014 (ONS
In the very worst cases, the workplace can
represent a risk to health, with musculoskeletal disorders and
mental health issues being particularly common.
Too often, though, the relationship between
employment and wellbeing is viewed solely from the risks to health,
ignoring the important positive impacts that satisfying employment
can generate for individuals, families and communities.
This section examines key issues in the
Bedford Borough employment market and looks at the barriers to
employment which many residents face as a result of: lack of skills
and qualifications; disabilities and limiting conditions; parenting
and caring responsibilities; transport; age; language; and other
factors constraining their ability to secure and retain
It is organised around two areas:
- Measures being taken by the
public, private, and voluntary and community sectors to reduce
employment barriers faced by Borough residents.
- Measures to expand the local
economy and create a growing number and range of quality employment
opportunities in the Borough.
this section in PDF format
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