Rise in jobless figures puts pressure on Chancellor

The Treasury

There is more pressure on Chancellor George Osborne ahead of today’s budget with the news that uemployment rose by 7,000 to 2.52 million between November and January. However the overall unemployment rate for November 2012 to January 2013 remained at 7.8 per cent, unchanged from August to October 2012. The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) also show that while pay rose by 1.2 per cent during the same period, with inflation measuring 2.7 per cent between January 2012 and January 2013, there continues to be a cut in the real value of pay.

“Increasing unemployment figures are bad news and predictions we are heading for a triple dip recession doesn’t offer much hope of an improvement any time soon,” said Emilie Bennetts, Associate in the Employment team at Charles Russell LLP.

She added: “Reports that the Chancellor plans to reign in public sector spending further will be cause for concern that a rise in public sector unemployment figures is likely to continue.

“A sharper than expected downturn in the manufacturing industries in recent weeks also casts a gloomy outlook on private sector employment. Any measures which aim to tackle unemployment in the 2013 Budget, released today, will be warmly welcomed.”

Meanwhile the CBI is calling for a budget which instils more confidence in the economy.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: “The businesses I speak to all say that confidence is the missing ingredient in the economy.

“Businesses don’t need a swathe of new initiatives or radical policy shifts, but we do want to see a renewed sense of optimism, dynamism and delivery.”

The business group argues that measures to stimulate the housing market, as well as more investment in road and rail infrastructure would help give the construction sector the boost it needs.

As we reported last week the UK Green Building Council is urging the Chancellor to use the Budget 2013 to demonstrate the Coalition’s commitment to energy efficiency as a key driver of green growth.

by Sara Bean