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I absolutely agree. As a former employment lawyer, I am well aware of the huge impact that loss of work has on individuals and their families.
We are entitled to ask why the unemployment forecasts have been revised upwards. That has happened because of sluggish growth, and the OBR’s autumn forecast clearly states that the sluggish growth has been caused in no small part by the extreme fiscal consolidation embarked on by the Government. Therefore, there are more people out of work, claiming benefit and not paying income tax due to the policies of this Government. The OBR has said that.
The Chancellor’s strategy on business confidence and investment is clear. As the Government hack off chunks of the public sector—causing, of course, mass public sector job losses—he says that the private sector will automatically step in to fill the gap, and he foresees private sector growth fuelled by a boom in exports and business investment. Business confidence is key, and since this Government took office confidence has fallen.
The latest Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and Grant Thornton UK business confidence monitor shows a continuing downward trend in business confidence in this country for the fourth consecutive quarter. I sincerely hope that that confidence returns, because the people in the communities I represent in Streatham and parts of Clapham, Balham, Tulse Hill and Brixton will be among those who suffer.