The Government monitor public sector job losses at the local level. The £1.4 billion regional growth fund has been set up to help generate private sector job growth, particularly in places that have been over-reliant upon public sector employment.
The majority of public sector workers in Halifax are middle and low-income earners who have worked loyally for the council for many years. Will the Minister put on record exactly from where he sees new jobs coming to my constituency, which needs and relies on a strong public sector?
I am sure that the hon. Lady will therefore welcome the latest Office for Budget Responsibility forecast, which predicts a total employment rise in 2011 and 1.5 million new private sector jobs being created. I hope that her council will work with the local enterprise partnership and the regional growth fund to achieve those jobs in her area.
Halifax will be hard hit by council cutbacks. Halifax council believes that for every job that goes in local government, one will go in the private sector, and that the voluntary sector will also be hard hit. Does the Minister accept, therefore, that this Government are cutting too far, too fast, with no plan for growth and rapidly rising unemployment, and that once again, for this Conservative-led Government, as in the 1980s, unemployment is a price worth paying?