OBR report: Planning for job losses?
No doubt the Chancellor will try to spin today’s OBR “Economic and fiscal outlook” report as a vindication of his approach. But a closer look at the figures reveals that even by the time of the next election, the OBR expects well over a million people still to be claiming unemployment benefit.
In short, by 2015 the UK economy will still not be back to where it was before the recession hit in 2008. No politician should seize on these figures as some sort of good news story, least of all one that has just abandoned plans to publish a jobs and growth strategy for the country.
While we welcome the reduction in the likely number of lost public sector jobs, it looks as if this will be largely due to the cuts being taken from the benefits budget instead.
The government may be trying to make these cuts politically acceptable by relying on the widespread view that too many people abuse the benefits system, but these cuts will go far beyond the very limited savings from crackdowns on abuse, and cause real suffering to some of our most vulnerable citizens.
And of course, these cuts will in turn have a knock-on effect on the private sector.
With the economy still fragile, the government is taking big risks with the recovery by deliberately planning for job losses.