The Thick of It

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Is the government responsible for unemployment?

Last night I debated this on Richard Bacon's Five Live show with Tory blogger Shane Greer. Yesterday saw a record increase in the number of unemployed in the UK. The reasons for the increase in unemployment are manifold, not least that Britain is suffering together with the rest of the world. Also that not many people spotted this coming.

There is a clear differential between Labour offering business and individuals support, including the holiday on business rates for small businesses; and the Tories offering no alternative. There is also a huge difference between today's recession and those of the 1980s. Before mass privatisation the government was directly responsible for employing huge swathes of the population - and then making them unemployed - when this is no longer the case.

The government here is also ensuring that wide scale public sector construction projects, like Building Schools for the Future and Crossrail continue.

Globalisation also means that we're under ever increasing pressure from the rest of the world to be economically competitive. At the same time, this also offers our best escape route, giving UK business the chance to trade overseas. Protectionism isn't an option.

Listen again, I'm on in the first hour.

1 comment:

Idle Pen Pusher said...

The government doesn't create short-term unemployment - that's caused by economic cycles and businesses either getting more efficient or failing. Long-term unemployment is created by the government though. If you pay people enough to do something, some of them will do it. That includes turning up to a jobcentreplus once a fortnight and not officially working. Or claiming that you're depressed or have back pain...

I agree that further liberalisation of trade and integration into the big wide world out there is part of the answer (and that means leaving the frightened little losers' EU fortress)