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I certainly hope to prove that I can. From my own constituency’s perspective, the vast majority of employed taxpayers are in the basic rate bracket. I want to demonstrate that this Budget has a different impact on different parts of the country.
Despite the claims of job creation and figures illustrating that employment has increased under the coalition Government, every local authority area in the north-east region now has a minimum of 10% more jobseekers than before. County Durham and Darlington both have increases of 30%, and Northumberland has been the worst affected with a rise of 37% in unemployment since June 2010. That obviously has an impact on the local jobs market and the living standards of ordinary people, because it has a depressing effect on local wage rates and the rates at which people actually pay their income tax.
Almost 50,000 public sector jobs have been lost so far, and the employment rate stands at a sickly 64%. On average, there are 7.5 jobseekers per vacancy in the north east, and four times as many jobseekers as vacancies in Cumbria, with as many as eight per job in north Tyneside and 11 per job in Hartlepool. Not only are more people out of work but youth unemployment and especially long-term unemployment are continuing to rise. These figures demonstrate the ongoing failure of the Government’s economic policy and the challenge for our region, and for all of us who want to see the north-east and Cumbria grow and prosper. There is much work to be done, and trade unions are working particularly hard to influence and play a role in securing new developments in the area. Trade unions have been very positive in helping to attract the Hitachi development in Newton Aycliffe, for instance.
As well as having a differential impact, the Budget has had, to say the least, a mixed response among business leaders in the north-east. It has very little to help small or medium-sized businesses in the north-east of England.