Labour challenges Government to back compulsory jobs guarantee

8 January 2013

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Labour will today challenge the Government to back its plan for a compulsory jobs guarantee for the long term unemployed as new figures from the IFS show 7 million working people will be hit by the Government's 'strivers tax'.

The new report from the IFS shows that 7 million working families will lose out under the government’s real terms cuts to tax credits and other benefits. It follows Children’s Society research which shows that a second lieutenant will lose £552 a year, a nurse could lose £424 a year and a primary school teacher could lose £424 a year.

Labour will oppose the Bill and call for the Government to bring in a compulsory jobs guarantee, which would give people out of work for 24 months or more a job which they would have to take up or lose their benefits.

Ed Balls MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said:

“The Government’s myths about who will be hit by their cuts to tax credits and benefits have now been exposed. While millionaires get a tax cut, 7 million striving working families are paying the price for David Cameron and George Osborne’s economic failure.

“The best way to get the benefits bill down is to get the economy growing and people back to work, not hit striving families. Labour’s compulsory jobs guarantee would give the long-term unemployed a job, which they will have to take up or lose their benefits. Our plan is tough but fair and the Government should back it.”

Liam Byrne MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said:

“It’s now clear. There's a Labour way to bring down the welfare bill and a Tory way. The Tory way is to hijack support for working people. The Labour way is to help people work.

“The Tories and their Lib Dem friends have delivered a flatling economy and rising long term unemployment which has put up the welfare bill by over £13 billion more than planned. And now they want working people to pay the bill with a strivers tax that will hit 7 million families. Yet they're happy to give a £107,000 tax cut to 8,000 millionaires.

“Tomorrow's Bill does nothing to create a single new job, fix the chaos in Universal Credit or the Work Programme which has been an utter failure. So we'll be asking MPs to vote for real welfare reform, a compulsory Jobs Guarantee that will end life on welfare for the first time.”