Job Centre PlusCommenting on the latest unemployment figures for March 2013, Bridget Phillipson said:

“These latest figures confirmed what we feared. In Houghton and Sunderland South, long term unemployment is up and is continuing to rise. It’s shocking that the number of local people out of work and claiming Jobseekers Allowance for at least 12 months has increased by over 60 per cent compared to this time last year. Furthermore, the number of young people out of work for 12 months has increased by 50 per cent. We urgently need action to get local people in to work.

“This is why Labour is calling for a compulsory jobs guarantee. This would make sure that every adult out of work for more than two years and every young person out of work for a year would be offered a job – one they would be required to take.

“Local people made clear in my alternative Budget survey that the government’s plan isn’t working. Ministers must get off their hands and start helping now before they condemn a whole generation to worklessness.”

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

“Three years on it’s now as clear the Government’s plan is failing, and failing badly. Not only are more people unemployed than at the election, it’s soaring up. Seventy thousand more people are now on the dole than last month, youth unemployment rose by 20,000 and long term unemployment rose yet again.

“Yet just to add insult to injury this Government is slashing tax credits and child benefit but giving millionaires a tax cut. Families are £891 worse off because of tax and benefit changes and pay packets are now a whopping £1,700 smaller than at the last election. People have to work almost an extra month and a half to make what they did in 2010. Working people feel they’re going backwards because they are going backwards.

“With the IMF warning George Osborne to change course and unemployment getting worse, it’s clear the time has come for a fresh approach. Ministers must now take the decisive action we need to get Britain working again starting with Labour’s compulsory jobs guarantee to get anyone out of work for more than two years back into a job; a job people must take or lose their benefits.”

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