That’s why Labour has set out a clear five-point plan for jobs, to help struggling families and support small businesses. Our jobs plan includes a tax on bank bonuses to fund up to 100,000 jobs for young people; bringing forward longterm investments in infrastructure like roads and schools; a temporary VAT cut which would give families with children a boost of around £450; a one year cut in VAT to 5 per cent on home improvements and repairs to help small businesses; and tax breaks for small businesses
taking on extra workers.
The Tory-led Government refuses to listen to people’s concerns. Far from being the safe haven George Osborne claims it is, Britain’s recovery was choked off last autumn – well before the current crisis in the eurozone. We now know that there has been zero growth in our economy for nine months. Japan is the only G7 country that has grown more slowly over the last year.
The decision by the Bank of England effectively to print more money shows that the Government’s reckless plan is not working. In fact two years ago the Chancellor George Osborne said doing this was “the last resort of desperate governments when all other policies have failed.”
But there’s only so much the Bank of England can do on its own. The Government needs to act too. The real problem is that the Government is cutting spending and putting up taxes too far and too fast. And the result is that families have been hit hard, the economy has ground to a halt and more people are now out of work.
Unemployment is at its highest level in 17 years, with over 2.5 million people without a job. One in five young people are out of work and there are now more women unemployed than any time since 1988. And while 111,000 jobs have been lost in the public sector in the three months to June, just 41,000 jobs have been created in the private sector.
Like every other country we’ve got to get our deficit down and that means tough decisions on tax and spending cuts. But the Government doesn’t seem to understand that more people on the dole – claiming benefits rather than paying taxes – will just make it harder and harder to get the deficit down.
The International Monetary Fund has now warned that if things get any worse the Tory-led Government will have to change course and slow down the cuts and tax rises. Business groups are also calling on the Government to do more to get the economy growing again.
There is a better way – a real plan for jobs and growth to get our economy moving again and help get the deficit down in a steadier and more balanced way.
And we must now lay the foundations for a new bargain in the future based on something-forsomething values which reward responsibility, help us pay our way in the world and fulfil the promise of Britain.
If David Cameron and George Osborne really understood how tough things are for families, pensioners and businesses they’d stop sitting on their hands and take action now.