The Government’s strategy of deficit reduction, monetary activism and supply-side reform is designed to protect the economy and to lay the foundations for stronger, more balanced growth. There are encouraging signs that the economy is healing. The deficit is down by a third, GDP is growing and the private sector is creating jobs at a near-record rate.
I commend the Government’s efforts to reduce the budget deficit. The Opposition are yet again advocating more spending to achieve economic salvation, but such expenditure in the past has left us with a current national debt of close to £1.2 trillion. Does my hon. Friend agree that the British public, and certainly my constituents in Lincoln, will not trust the Labour party with the nation’s finances as long as it continues to hold on to such reckless ideas and to a shadow chancellor who continues to peddle them?
I could not have put it better myself; I agree 100 per cent. with my hon. Friend. The economy is healing after suffering the deepest post-war recession this country has seen, which destroyed the hopes of many working families up and down the country. The deficit is down by a third, which has brought confidence and helped create jobs at a record rate: 1.25 million created in three years.
Is the Minister familiar with the universal jobmatch website created by one of his colleagues in the Department for Work and Pensions? If he has looked at the nature of the jobs being advertised there, he will have seen that in my area, 57 out of 76 advertised shop vacancies were for one company, operating all over the east of Scotland, which wanted people to work on a self-employed basis, distributing catalogues and selling things from them—
In the last decade of the previous Government, youth unemployment rocketed by more than 70%, so the hon. Lady is in no position to lecture this Government on jobs. In three years, 1.25 million private sector jobs have been created, more people are now employed in the private sector than at any other time in our history and we had a faster rate of job growth last year than the rest of the G7.
I congratulate the Government on having created six private sector jobs for every public sector job loss. Has the Minister seen the latest news from the CBI, which this week shows trend growth for this year running at 1.8%, and has he seen this quote from the CBI’s director of economics:
“We continue to expect UK economic growth to strengthen and become more broad-based over this year and next”?
I have seen the report to which my hon. Friend refers. I have also seen similar reports—for example, from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research—which also show encouraging signs. Together, all those reports show that this Government’s policies are working.
In reply to a question I tabled, which eventually ended up with the Cabinet Office, I was informed that between June 2010 and September 2012, 741,000 private sector jobs were created. Can the Minister explain the discrepancy between that figure and the fanciful figures of 1 million, and now 1.25 million, private sector jobs that he and his colleagues use?
The numbers I tend to look at are those provided by the Office for National Statistics. Those numbers show not that 1.25 million jobs were created in the private sector since the end of the first quarter of 2010, but that 1.31 million jobs were created. If we allowed for transfers from the further education sector, which we do not, the figure would be 1.5 million jobs.