Labour calls for Budget to put jobs and growth first

Labour calls for Budget to put jobs and growth first

£2billion bank bonus tax to create 110,000 new jobs

Labour is today setting out the key tests for George Osborne’s Budget next week and calling for immediate action to boost jobs and growth in the economy and to help hard-pressed families with the rising cost of living.

In a joint press conference this morning Labour leader Ed Miliband and shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the Conservative-led government must think again on the speed and scale of cuts which go too deep and too fast, are choking off growth, increasing unemployment and making it harder to reduce the deficit in the long term.

They called on David Cameron and George Osborne to repeat last year’s bank bonus tax to support the jobs and growth Britain badly needs in 2011.

With the £2 billion that could be raised this year from repeating the bank bonus tax, Labour says the government should:

· Provide £1.2bn to fund the construction of more than 25,000 homes across the country. This would generate more than 20,000 jobs and several times more in the supply chain, and as many as 1,500 construction apprenticeships at a time when demand for construction apprentices has fallen by 31%;

· Establish a £600m fund for youth jobs. This would help more than 90,000 young people into work at a time when youth unemployment has reached almost one million;

· Boost the Regional Growth Fund by £200m. With the first wave of the fund over-subscribed several times over, this would be a quick way to drive new investment. The Regional Growth Fund represents a two-thirds cut from the funding for Regional Development Agencies, which were abolished last year.

Labour will also force a House of Commons vote on Wednesday on reversing George Osborne’s VAT rise on petrol, which is helping to push up petrol prices to their current record levels and adding to the growing cost of living for families on low and middle incomes. Labour’s Opposition Day Debate motion will call for the VAT rise – which has added £1.35 to the cost of filling up a 50 litre tank – to be reversed immediately on road fuels, using the extra £800m from the bank levy.

Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, said:

“Our alternative isn’t just about the pace of deficit reduction, it’s also about having a real plan for growth.

“It’s about having a plan to keep the British Promise – that every generation should do better than the one before.

“That’s why today Ed Balls will set out the steps the Government should take in this Budget to help economic growth.

“We are under no illusions that at this stage this government will abandon their deficit reduction plan—they are too dug in for that.

“But at least they should take some steps to deal with faltering growth in our economy.

“Together, our plans can create 110,000 jobs in our economy and it can be done by continuing Labour’s bonus tax on banks

“As a matter of simple fairness, at a time when everyone else is facing tax rises, it is completely wrong for this Tory-led government to choose to cut taxes for the banks. The banks, who helped create the financial crisis, must now help return our economy to growth.

“These are steps George Osborne should take if he is serious about delivering a Budget for growth. The tests for next week’s Budget are clear – growth and living standards.”

Ed Balls MP, Labour’s shadow chancellor, said:

“Since George Osborne abandoned Labour’s plan to halve the deficit over four years in favour of a reckless experiment to cut too deep and too fast, the economy has taken a turn for the worse.

“Unemployment is now rising again and the recovery ground to a halt at the end of last year. We need a plan that puts jobs and growth first because getting more people into work and the economy growing strongly again is the best way to get the deficit down.

“That’s why we are calling on the Conservative-led government to repeat last year’s bank bonus tax this year to boost jobs and growth. Our plans would create over 110,000 jobs, build thousands of much needed homes and support investment in the regions.”

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Posted March 14th, 2011 by Ed's team

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