Warning bells should be sounding in Westminster in the run up to Christmas. While the government gears up for the recess and festive celebrations, hard-pressed families across the UK are wondering how they are going to put a turkey on the table this year.
What a seriously bleak midwinter for the 2.64million now unemployed and the millions of low paid workers, suffering from pay freezes in the face of high inflation.
Some groups are bearing the brunt of the cuts and rising costs more than others. It is shameful to see that women, who make up the majority of low paid public sector workers, have had an unemployment hike of 45,000, to 1.1 million, the highest figure since 1988.
Youth unemployment has also risen by 54,000, creating a lost generation of young people struggling to afford education, or find work, which the government will struggle to curb. Women and young people first in the government's jobless queues!
Every month, as unemployment rises, the government continues to ignore the human cost and push ahead with its hard and fast cuts to the public sector - clinging to the hope that a struggling private sector can pick up the pieces. With 710,000 job losses planned for the public sector this is obviously a plan destined to fail. The Tories have form when it comes to creating unemployment. The last time that figures hit such high levels was when they were in power back in 1996.
The statistics show we are not all in this together as the government claims. Cameron's friends in the city are still featherbedded from the ravages of the financial crisis. In the run up to Christmas reports highlighted one banker who spent more than £71,000 in a London nightclub, including champagne at £1,200 a bottle. Money that would sound like a big lottery win to low paid public service workers.
The unemployment figures deliver a cold hard dose of reality. Private sector employment has increased by only 5,000, while the public sector has been hit with 67,000 job cuts - a huge gulf that the government has no credible plan to fill. As Thomas Cook looks likely to shed more than 600 jobs and La Senza become the latest retailer to face a restructuring, it is obvious that the worse is yet to come.
At a time when the government is supposed to be kickstarting the economy it is simply kicking it further towards a double-dip recession. Christmas should be a happy time, but for many people the stress of finding, or keeping a job, means the financial pressures just keep on coming. Add in the additional cost that government Ministers are asking public sector workers to pay into their pensions, and contrast with Christmas bonuses in the City, and it is obvious they are creating a more divided society.
The government must start to realise that the economy relies on families struggling to cope with inflation this Christmas being given some relief. Their failed fiscal policies are hampering recovery, as many people are still too worried about their jobs to spend in the high street. The government needs to look at ways of preventing further unemployment and encouraging consumer confidence, instead of dishing up more misery over Christmas.
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