Cameron & Osborne should change course and put jobs first – my Sunday Mirror article

Times are tough right now. Jobs are being lost, bills are going up and tax credits are being unfairly cut.

If Labour was in government now we’d be making different choices.

We wouldn’t be cutting spending and raising taxes as far and as fast as David Cameron and George Osborne.

Because their reckless plan has done exactly what we warned – choked off the recovery and put more people out of work which means £158 billion more borrowing than planned.

We would tax bankers’ bonuses and use the money to get 100,000 young people into work.

And we’d have a temporary VAT cut to help people struggling with rising prices and help kick-start the economy.

But even with Labour’s five point plan for jobs, there would still need to be some cuts and tax rises to get the deficit down.

And the reality is that this Tory led government’s failure on the economy means tough times are set to continue. Incomes will continue to be squeezed for both public and private sectors workers.

But in tough times the priority has got to be getting people into jobs rather than people in work being paid more. That is why Labour cannot oppose the decision to cap public sector pay rises at an average of 1 per cent. But it should be done fairly – tougher on those at the top to help protect those at the bottom.

And I’m afraid that three years before the next election Ed Miliband and I cannot make any promises now to reverse spending cuts or tax rises. After five years of the Tories we don’t know how bad the economy will be.

We cannot duck the reality – this government’s mistakes mean tough choices for the next Labour government. Cameron and Osborne are getting it badly wrong. They should change course and put jobs first.

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Posted January 15th, 2012 by Ed