Tiny fall in jobless doesn't mask fact that economy is still the big issue, says MP Jon Ashworth
Here's the good news. This month, 14 people in Leicester South moved off benefits and into employment. I welcome that, because joblessness is a tragedy.
Despite this slight fall in unemployment in my own constituency, we still have an unemployment rate of more than 10 per cent.
Leicester South ranks 56th out of 650 constituencies when it comes to levels of joblessness.
So, not as bad as some areas, but still too high in those ranking as far as I'm concerned.
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It's why my big campaign in Parliament over the next few months will be pushing the Tory–Lib Dem government to pull its finger out and introduce a proper scheme to help our young people find jobs.
I also think we urgently need to do more nationally to boost construction jobs by bringing forward infrastructure projects – including building thousands more affordable homes across the UK – and cutting VAT on home improvements to five per cent.
I was delighted the campaign I was involved in for the upgrade of the Midland Mainline was successful, but we need that work to start as quickly as possible. With the economy so bad, there is no point hanging around on this. Let's get those shovels out now!
What's more, we absolutely now have to do more to support local businesses in Leicester. When I met with the Leicester Chamber of Commerce earlier in the summer, they told me of the problems getting access to credit and how we should look at a business investment bank, such as those that exist in the major economies of the US and Germany.
I agree, and it's now time the government introduced a new British investment bank to help businesses get the credit they need to expand
But the problem for David Cameron is he's making a right mess of the economy.
When he was elected nearly two-and-a-half years ago, he promised he would "balance the books" by 2015.
That was his big commitment to voters at the last election, but it now looks like he will be forced to break that promise he made to the British people.
Just look at the borrowing figures for this year alone. So far, this Tory-Lib Dem Government is borrowing £44.9 billion. This is £9.3 billion more in the first four months of this financial year compared to the first four months of the last financial year – a 26.2 per cent increase.
The reason the Government has been forced to borrow so much is because the levels of spending cuts they forced on the UK economy hasn't led to growth.
Instead, the Government sucked demand and confidence out of the economy, tax receipts fell and unemployment rose – which meant more has had to be paid out in unemployment benefits.
So we've had no growth and the economy today is actually smaller than when David Cameron took over.
We urgently need a change of direction.
The more Cameron and George Osborne refuse to accept they need to change direction, the more long-term damage is done to the economy.
So while I welcome the small fall in the claimant count in Leicester South, I will be arguing strongly in Parliament that the Government now needs to do much, much more to help people move into work, to relieve families who are feeling the squeeze, to get the deficit down and to get our economy moving again.
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