Unemployment: Lib Dems on the bleak national picture

by Stephen Tall on October 15, 2009

Three separate Lib Dem press releases ping into the Voice’s inbox, each of them them telling a depressing story about the human impact of the recession.

First up, Lib Dem shadow work and pensions secretary Steve Webb on the doubling of long-term unemployment in the last year alone:

Ministers try to spin the slower rise in headline figures as progress, but long-term unemployment has doubled in a year and if it is not tackled now it will be a devastating legacy of this recession.

“It is only a matter of time before a million young people will be looking for work yet the Government is still sitting on its hands for 10 months before it offers them help. The pointless VAT cut should be scrapped immediately and the money used to create 800,000 internships and work experience placements.”

Second, is Lib Dem shadow Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael on the news that Scotland’s unemployment rate is rising faster than the UK average:

Scotland continues to face faster-rising unemployment than the rest of the UK. This must be a wake-up call for the SNP. They can no longer afford to focus on narrow nationalism at the expense of the tens of thousands of Scots who have lost their jobs.

“Alex Salmond has to realise that those who are suffering in the recession have much more immediate and pressing concerns than constitutional issues. It is shameful that the nationalists have squandered vast sums of taxpayers’ money on ego trips such as the national conversation which have done nothing to protect or create jobs.

“Salmond will be selling his country short if his party’s conference this weekend is the usual mix of triumphalism and flag-waving.”

And thirdly, Wales’s Lib Dem economy spokesperson Jenny Randerson flagged up the fact that the country’s jobless rise is the largest of any part of the UK:

This was the biggest rise of all areas of the UK, and shows that the recession is now set to be harder, deeper and longer for people and businesses in Wales. While other areas of the UK have clearly seen a slowing in the increase in unemployment, here in Wales, it is speeding up.

“There is something seriously wrong with the Welsh economy, and these figures show the effect this is having on Welsh families and workers. It is high time the Labour-Plaid government got a grip. If they are right in claiming that the recession is bottoming out, then why are there more people losing their jobs than ever before?”