Unemployment in the UK

Part of Opposition Day — [18th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 8:53 pm on 7th October 2008.

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Photo of Jim Devine Jim Devine Labour, Livingston 8:53 pm, 7th October 2008

I was about to come to that point.

We should remember this financial experiment and its consequences. We were told that mass unemployment was an accident of central policy. But mass unemployment was the central part of the strategy of that policy. We know that because we can remember Tory Ministers saying at the time, "High unemployment is a price worth paying," and, "If it isn't hurting, it isn't working." In my constituency, it certainly hurt. I find the Conservative party's crocodile tears about the unemployed hard to take. I believe in what my psychiatrist told me: "Never listen to what somebody tells you. Watch behaviour." When the Conservatives were in power, their behaviour destroyed my community and many others like it.

On the question asked by Mr. Bone, I am delighted to tell the House that unemployment in my constituency today is at 2.4 per cent. That is down from 20 per cent., and 26 per cent. in parts. It is no accident that unemployment is down to that level. It is the result of the Labour Government's calculated strategy, to which reference has been made. I am a socialist, passionate about the Labour Government, and very proud of them. The aim and objective to create full employment, as we said 11 years ago, has been achieved. Yes, we have difficulties, which, in the main, are outwith our control. But we should ensure that the Conservatives never get their hands on the levers of power again, because we remember exactly what they did.

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