As was the case last month, the Labour group are again saddened to see that local unemployment rates have continued to rise, thus providing further evidence that the Tory led government’s economic strategy is failing, and their local Tory lackeys are doing little to challenge the situation.
The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in Medway rose to 7,120 over the last month, a rise of 142 extra people.
The Tories are in danger of creating a ‘lost generation’ as young people are hit hardest. In Medway, unemployment is at 9.2% amongst young people, and 6.2% have been unemployed for at least 6 months. Nationally, the picture is also bleak, with youth unemployment at 21.3% – the highest level in decades.
The Tories cannot fall back on their usual spin of blaming the past Labour government, which is patently based on misinformation.
Tellingly, when Labour left office, youth unemployment had been falling for 6 months, even during months of recession. Now, many months after the recession officially ended, all that progress has been wiped out.
Local youth are also facing the effects of the abolition of the EMA, increased tuition fees, the abolition of the Future Jobs Fund, as well as a range of cuts to Connexions and other youth services, all brought about as a consequence of the decisions of the coalition government and the Tory administration in Medway.
Cllr Vince Maple, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group said,
”These new figures show that the government’s ruthless economic strategy is hurting, but it’s not working.”
“Instead, Labour offer the alternative: Ed Balls has a real strategy, based on 5 key plans for the economy*. Instead of more unemployment, high inflation, and stagnating growth, Labour’s plan would encourage growth and jobs.”
“Britain’s economy has flat lined since George Osborne’s policies started to kick in. The Government is cutting too far and too fast, choking off the recovery, with no credible plan for growth. Medway people deserve better.”
Ed Balls’ plans:
1. Repeating the bank bonus tax – which could help to build 25,000 affordable homes and guarantee a job for 100,000 young people.
2. Bringing forward long-term investment projects, such as for schools, roads and transport, to create jobs
3. Reversing January’s damaging VAT rise now for a temporary period
4. Immediate one-year cut in VAT to 5% on home improvements, repairs and maintenance
5. One-year national insurance tax break for every small firm which takes on extra workers, using the money left over from the government’s failed national insurance rebate for new businesses