Two weeks ago I was shocked and outraged at the release of the most recent unemployment figures that show that joblessness has risen to an unprecedented level of 2.67 million- the highest it has been in 17 years. In just three months this figure has gone up by 48,000.

This trend will only continue if the Conservative-led coalition do not change course. Their economic strategy is not working just hurting. This government is oblivious to the problems being faced by ordinary working people in Dagenham and Rainham with a rising cost of living and a whole generation of youngsters being left on the scrapheap with unemployment for 18 to 24 year olds in the area now at an astonishing 12.3%.

Total unemployment in the local region is now at 6.5%, with 7,500 people currently without work. This borough is one of the hardest hit in the whole country, with its unemployment rate at nearly 60% above the national average and youth unemployment over 50% above the UK figure. Perhaps the most shocking of the statistics released this week is that long-term unemployment in the borough has risen by a staggering 75% over the last 12 months. 

Why is this Government not making unemployment a priority? They cannot continue to ignore the voices of residents in Dagenham and Rainham.

We don’t need to follow the Government’s misguided economic plan, there are alternatives. I’m backing Labour’s five point economic plan for jobs and growth. This would include the introduction of a £2 billion banker’s bonus tax being used to fund 100,000 jobs for young people.I also agree with the proposal to reversing the Government’s January VAT rise which only serves to punish local businesses and families. 

We keep getting told that we’re all in this together, but the facts show that the poorest are bearing the brunt of the cuts. The present Government sees unemployment as a price worth paying for the protection of their friends in the financial sector. That is unjust and unfair. 

Jon Cruddas MP

Labour Member of Parliament for Dagenham and Rainham