Labour: Complacent ministers creating crisis

Liam Byrne, shadow work and pensions secretary, comments on unemployment statistics:

"Last month Chris Grayling told us how the labour market was stabilising, but today’s figures now confirm we have an unemployment emergency.

"Unemployment has now soared to highest level for a generation and long term youth unemployment has more than doubled since January last year. In America, Germany and Japan unemployment is either flat or falling. This is new proof that the Government must change course.

"The government’s welfare to work programmes are now clearly failing and the welfare bill is going through the roof.

"Tax rises and spending cuts that go too far and too fast have choked off the recovery and backfired. The Government is now set to borrow £158 billion more than planned – more than £6,500 for every household in the country. This isn’t borrowing to support the economy through difficult times, but a huge new bill for failure.

"The government must change course and adopt Labour's five point plan for jobs, including a tax on bankers’ bonuses to fund 100,000 jobs for young people and a temporary VAT cut to help people struggling with rising prices and kick-start the economy.

"Complacent and out of touch ministers need to wake up to the jobs crisis they're responsible for and take urgent action now."