Stephen Timms MP, Labour’s Shadow Employment Minister, commenting on today’s unemployment figures, said:
“This is a very worrying set of figures. The Government is being far too complacent about getting people back to work.
“Only days ago the Chancellor called Britain’s economy a safe haven and today we learn that unemployment rose by 38,000 - the largest rise in unemployment for nine months, and the number of unemployed women is at a 23 year high.
“The recession ended over a year and half ago and we should be doing better, but over the last nine months we have had virtually flat growth in our economy. The number of people on the dole is up 37,000 – this is the fastest rise since the depths of the recession.
“This is now helping to push up the benefits bill over this Parliament by over £12 billion – that’s £500 for every household in the country. And with the DWP spending more on phones and stamps than their plan to tackle youth unemployment you have to question their priorities.
“But instead the Tories are creating a vicious circle in our economy because they are cutting too far and too fast – hitting families and costing jobs. More people out of work and on benefits makes it harder to get the deficit down.
“The Managing Director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, is right to say that ‘slamming on the brakes too quickly will hurt the recovery and worsen job prospects'. The Government should listen to that advice.”