Three years on it’s now as clear the Government's plan is failing, and failing badly.
Not only are more people unemployed than at the election, it’s soaring up. Seventy thousand more people are now on the dole than last month, youth unemployment rose by 20,000 and long term unemployment rose yet again to 900,000. In Yorkshire and Humberside and the East Midlands, the position was worse than nationally, with employment falling and unemployment increasing.
Research by the House of Commons’ Library shows that real terms’ wages are, on average, £1,700 lower than in May 2010. Wages were flat last year, but inflation continued at more than 3%, with inflation in essentials, like food and energy, rising faster than that. Although the UK might just miss a triple-dip recession, the squeeze on households is worsening as consumers are caught between falling incomes and rising living costs.
Four times as many households (32 per cent) said that their finances had worsened last month than reported an improvement (8 per cent). Families earning below £23,000 a year and those living in social rented housing were hit worst by the downturn, with 45 per cent of council tenants reporting deterioration in their household budgets, compared with only 2 per cent who said that their situations had improved.
To look at this another way, families earning below £23,000 a year are effectively having to work an extra 6 weeks a year to make what they did in 2010. It’s not surprising that they feel they're going backwards, because they are going backwards.
We urgently need action to get local people into work. That is why I’m supporting a compulsory jobs guarantee, which will get any adult out of work for more than two years - or young person out of work for a year - into a job they would be required to take. Without such action now, this government is condemning a whole generation to joblessness.