Labour ‘will target full employment’

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SHADOW Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne has committed Labour to targeting full employment if it wins the next General Election and suggested councils should take the leading role in getting the jobless back into work.

Mr Byrne accused the Conservatives of believing unemployment is “a price worth paying” and Labour had to show how getting people back into work would help the country pay down its debts.

In a speech to the IPPR North thinktank, he said tackling joblessness in deprived areas involved co-ordinating spending in a huge range of areas including health, education, transport and housing.

“If you try to do it from Whitehall, it’s impossible to do. We know – we tried,” he said.

“In fact we had 36 different organisations, operating on four different levels: national, regional, sub-regional and local trying to coordinate this work.

“We made progress. But it was no surprise that it was slow.”

Mr Byrne instead pointed to countries such as Germany and Canada where local government takes a much bigger role in getting people back to work.

Earlier this year, the Yorkshire Post revealed councils in the region were asking the Government to give them greater scope to co-ordinate the work of JobCentre Plus offices with local training providers and business to try and get better value for money.