Enterprise zones won’t help Oldham’s unemployed

New unemployment figures released on 18 January show a shocking rise of 106% for Oldham’s 18-24 year olds claiming Job Seekers Allowance for longer than 6 months.  This is bound to have a damaging effect on our young people and is a result of this government’s lack of action.

Labour has been saying for months that this Tory-led government is cutting too far and too fast and today’s figures will only confirm what families in Oldham already know – we are now facing an unemployment emergency as a result.

Almost 10 people (9.7) are chasing every job in the Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency which means we need the government’s out-of-touch ministers to wake up to the jobs crisis they’re responsible for and take urgent action now.

All the evidence says that Enterprise Zones do little to create sustainable growth and simply displace large number of jobs, up to 80%, from other areas sometimes from within the same town or region.

Labour has set out its 5 point plan, a strategy for jobs and growth, which includes a £2 billion tax on bank bonuses to fund 100,000 jobs for young people.

What Oldham needs from this government is real action not gimmicks.

To read Work Foundation report on enterprise zones click here.

In brief the Work Foundation concludes: The media has focused on the impact of public sector cuts, but there is an urgent need for the government to focus on economic growth. The Coalition has stated that rebalancing the economy is an important priority over the next few years, and this rebalancing includes sharing prosperity around the UK. However, there is a danger that the economic recovery will be weakest in those places which are already most deprived, threatening to perpetuate the cycle of deprivation and worklessness in those places. Any measure that can reverse this trend should be welcomed. Unfortunately, Enterprise Zones are not the answer to these problems. Government should focus on the long-term drivers of economic growth: innovation, trade, skills, infrastructure and entrepreneurship. The recovery will be led by innovation, with a small proportion of high growth firms producing the majority of all jobs. The government needs to focus on these.

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