Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Balancing Act Is Failing to Deliver; Opinion

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Balancing Act Is Failing to Deliver; Opinion

Article excerpt

Byline: Liam Byrne

IF you wanted definitive proof that this Government has failed on jobs and growth, look no further than yesterday's jobs figures. For the second month in a row, the number of people actually in work fell; that means our economy has quite simply stopped created jobs and is starting to lose them.

Unemployment rose. Long term unemployment rose - in County Durham it shot up 53% since last year, by 32% in Sunderland and by 33% in Newcastle; and we now live in a country where one in five people out of work, has been on the dole for more than two years.

The situation in the North East is especially serious; unemployment in the region rose again yesterday - and unemployment remains higher than it was at the last election.

The challenge is we are simply not seeing the Great Rebalancing the Government promised.

Take exports. The Government promised that our economy would start to rebalance as we began to export more. But while the pound has depreciated by roughly 20% over the last few years, our exports have barely grown at all. In fact, the independent Office of Budget Responsibility says that net trade is now a drag on growth - not a growth booster as the Government promised it would.

Or take the North-South divide. Again, the Government promised action. But what we've got instead is concerted action to cut hardest in the places where jobs are fewest.

That's made the challenge of getting the North East back to work far harder.

It is simply outrageous that leafy Woking in Surrey has seen cuts of just PS15 per head - whereas Newcastle, where unemployment is much higher, has seen cuts of PS27 per head.

The tragedy is that the price of this failure is paid by families and the most vulnerable.

Because there is quite simply not enough work to go round, pay packets have taken a hammering. …

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