VAT cut needed to ease the squeeze

Reporter: Andrew Rudkin
Date published: 06 September 2011

A TEMPORARY emergency VAT cut is needed to get struggling Oldham families back on track according to MP Debbie Abrahams.

With more than 6,500 Oldhamers claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance and unemployment figures continually rising in the borough — the Oldham East and Saddleworth MP believes the coalition Government’s VAT rise is hurting local families rather than helping.

The number of people out of work has risen by more than 70 per cent in the past five years and the Labour MP wants more regional investment.

“I believe that we need an emergency temporary VAT cut to get the recovery back on track and ease the squeeze on families.

“Labour has called for a bank bonus tax to fund 100,000 jobs for young people and more investment in regional growth.”

Figures produced by the House of Commons Library show the number of unemployed claimants in the Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency in July was 3,131 and in Oldham West and Royton, 3,559 claimants during the same period.

This represents a rate of 8.1 per cent of the economically active population aged 16 to 64 in Oldham West and Royton and 6.7 per cent in Ms Abrahams’ constituency.

Youth unemployment rates in the area are also higher than the national average.

She added: “I am extremely concerned that the Government is not concentrating on getting people into work and reducing unemployment, especially in the Nort- West where it has been rising, month on month.

“Young people are being affected particularly hard, as are those who have been unemployed for longer than six months.

“Eighteen months after the end of the recession the number of job vacancies has fallen again and more people than ever are being forced to work part-time when they want full-time work.”

The MP blames the Chancellor’s plan to get the national deficit down — claiming it has “flatlined” and it is “too fast and too far”. Lower growth, higher benefits bills and fewer people in work paying taxes will only make it harder to get the deficit down.

“The Government needs to come up with a balanced plan that puts jobs and strong growth first,” she added.

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