Labour dismisses 'jobless recovery'

Alexander: Govt 'complacent' about jobs returning
Alexander: Govt 'complacent' about jobs returning

By Peter Wozniak

The government's optimism over yesterday's growth predictions is unjustified, Labour's shadow work and pensions secretary will argue later.

In a speech to the thinktank Demos today, Douglas Alexander will warn of a "jobless recovery", with unemployment stubbornly refusing to fall.

He will add: "I am worried the government is too complacent about the risk of a slower and more painful return than many yet realise.

"We don't just need to avoid a jobless recovery across the country. We need to prevent one in any community."

The Office for Budget responsibility (OBR) yesterday upgraded its growth forecasts for this year from 1.2% to 1.8%. The number of jobs expected to be lost over the spending review was also slashed from half a million to 330,000.

Chancellor George Osborne told the Commons yesterday: "The message from the OBR is that Britain's recovery is on track.

"Our difficult choices on benefits mean that fewer posts will be lost across the public sector.

"The plan is working. We will stick to the course."

But growth predictions for next year and for 2012 was revised down slightly by the OBR, as a result of a sluggish lending environment and the dramatic public spending cuts the government is undertaking.

The OBR also stated the recovery would be slower than those experienced after recessions in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Labour has claimed that the current surge in growth is largely as a result of "momentum" inherited from the previous government.

Mr Alexander warned that although the OBR predicted unemployment falling to 6% by 2015 in line with previous estimates, there was a "complacent" attitude among ministers about jobs returning alongside new growth.


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