Derek has condemned the Tory-led Government's austerity cuts and called for a gear change on economic policy as latest figures show unemployment soaring to its highest levels in a generation.
Official unemployment figures published on Wednesday 12th October show the jobless rate rising by 114,000 to 2.57 million in the three months to August - the highest level since 1994 - during the last Conservative Government. The first time unemployment has increased by 100,000 per quarter in this recession, youth joblessness is at a record 18-year high of 991,000, whilst long-term unemployment of more than a year stands at a 15-year high of 867,000, with womens unemployment the highest since 1988.
Halton has 3,281 JSA claimants, competing for just 784 Job Centre Plus vacancies. That's one vacancy for every four people chasing work in Halton.
"I am dismayed at these latest increases in unemployment, but sadly not surprised at the worsening jobless figures. Week by week in the correspondence I receive from my constituents, and month by month in my surgeries, I see the devastating impact that the Government's decision to cut too far and too fast is causing for so many in our communities - be it hard working families struggling to make ends meet with the loss of work compounding the rising costs of living, and others enduring long-term unemployment after shorter periods out of work, and benefit recipients worried about losing their homes."
That is why Derek is supportive of Labour's call for a change of direction, with a 5-point plan of growth into the economy to restore jobs and ease the pressure on living standards. The plan includes for a VAT cut for businesses and home improvements, and a £2 billion tax on bankers bonuses to fund 100,000 jobs for young people.
Supporting Labour's Opposition Day motion on jobs and growth, Derek added:
"With today's figures showing unemployment soaring, a record number of young people unemployed, with just one vacancy for every four people out of work in Halton, it is essential that the Government changes course and builds a plan for growth by getting people back to work. Investing in our young people and tackling long-term unemployment should be our priority for the safest, surest way of getting down the deficit and setting the UK back on the right path for the future."