It's not working and it's going to continue hurting must be the conclusion of current economic outlook predictions following last week's prediction by the Office of Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) last week that the north east will continue to experience double-digit unemployment into at least 2015. A minimum of one in ten people in the north east will be out of work for at least the next two and a half years - what a damning indictment of this coalition government's economic policy.
While we are seeing employment growth in the US and in the UK's main European competitors the dogged approach to austerity, whatever the costs, will inevitably lead to poverty, desperation and hardship for thousands of families and communities throughout the region. Even by their own yardstick the government is failing; there is no sign of growth, business insolvencies continue to increase, the stated aim of reducing public sector borrowing is a distant goal as the opposite is happening with public sector borrowing now higher that it was when the Tories and Lib Dems signed their fateful coalition agreement. They may pay the political price in due course, in the meantime and in the immediate future more and more families are facing tougher and tougher times and the government's own economic watchdog, the OBR, is predicting no relief for years to come.
For the government to continue its current course of action would display a wanton disregard for people, families and communities in this region and an ignorant stubbornness to the point of indifferent arrogance regarding longer term concern for the state of the economy. It is beyond time for a change of direction, fundamental reconsideration of economic and fiscal policy is well overdue. The impact of current policies are not only risking the wellbeing of families in this region, it is leaving permanent scars and damaging the prospects for sustainable economic development.
For a start the government should cease its relentless public spending reductions. Not only are they dramatically impacting upon public services and public sector employment, so vital in this region, it is also directly causing negative consequences right across the private and voluntary sector economy in the region. There are no gains to be made from further public spending cuts for this region.
Secondly, the government must realise that the impact of longer periods of high unemployment are much more draining on the public purse that investing now to reduce unemployment. There are strong arguments for pump priming employment generating opportunities and strategic investments, short term and long term economic benefits to be realised. Furthermore, where public spending is still being made, it is critical that maximum local economic and social benefit are accrued from this spending, insisting on beneficiaries of public contracts employing local workers on decent salaries and investing in training and development for long term unemployed and young workers.
In short, the time is well past to continue to endure the blasé attitude of this reckless government.
Briefing document (600 words) issued 6 Aug 2012
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/economy/tuc-21302-f0.cfm
printed 24 May 2013 at 15:57 hrs by 188.8.131.52