Peter Hoskin

Anticipating a “Budget for jobs”

As James said earlier, we can expect plenty of failures of expectations management between now and the next election, as the Government searches desperately for fightback opportunities.  After the G20, the next event to hype up is the Budget, and there are already signs that the Government is setting itself up for a fall over that.  Take this revelation in today’s FT:

“Mr Darling’s aides are privately calling the April 22 statement a ‘Budget for jobs’, although the limited funds at the chancellor’s disposal may make little impact on the rising tide of unemployment. Top of the wishlist for unions and employers are measures the government could introduce to boost the labour market, such as wage subsidies to encourage more companies to opt for short-time working rather than axe permanent jobs.”

While measures to combat unemployment certainly shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand, circulating expectations of a “Budget for jobs” does seem counterproductive for the Government.  As the unemployment figures head inevitably towards 3 million, the Tories will be able to seize on it for their twin “Labour isn’t working” and “headless chicken” attacks. 

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