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Full employment must be at the top of Labour’s 2015 agenda

create jobs buttonAusterity continues to ruin economies across Europe; the EU’s unemployment rate has hit a record high of 11%France has been plunged back into recession and Britain has narrowly avoided a similar fate.

Even Germany’s economy only grew by 0.1% in the last quarter. 

Despite the OECD’s recent downgrade of its growth forecast for the UK economy this year and next,Osborne is ploughing ahead with a new tranche of £11.5 billion spending cuts. It is becoming increasingly clear that by 2015, Tory austerity will have delivered a flatling economy for five years.

For Labour the challenge at the next election will be to deliver a positive agenda that rejects the failed and discredited Tory cuts and embraces a pro-growth investment strategy – and this programme must have full employment as a key objective.

It is not just figures on the left who recognise the damage that austerity-induced unemployment is having, Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke said last week that “high rates of unemployment and underemployment are extraordinarily costly: Not only do they impose hardships on the affected individuals and their families, they also damage the productive potential of the economy as a whole.”

He added that “the loss of output and earnings associated with high unemployment also reduces government revenues…thereby leading to larger budget deficits and higher levels of public debt than would otherwise occur.

Getting people into work means they’re paying taxes and spending money in their local shops; generating the demand in our economy that spending cuts have sucked out. It would also slash the amount being spent on out-of-work benefits and neutralise the poisonous debate on welfare the Tories hope will kill off chances of a Labour majority in 2015.

Labour cannot allow the Tories to set the agenda for the next election. Accepting their spending plans would be disastrous for jobs, living standards and the economy and mean cutting deeper than Osborne already has.

This government has shown that the Tories don’t know best when it comes to the economy and the persistent levels of unemployment are a testament to their economic failure. A Labour plan for a growing economy could create no better contrast with Osborne’s jobless millions than to put full employment at the top of our 2015 agenda.

This post first appeared at Next Generation LabourJoin Next Generation Labour for a discussion on Labour’s economic plans with Peter Hain MP, John Healey MP, Cllr Catherine West, Mick Burke and Heather WakeField – 6.30pm on Monday 10th June 

One Comment

  1. Rob says:

    Labour keep talking about the Tories the question is which Tory party are you talking about the Pinkish Labour one or the slightly blue one which is Tory

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