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The Chancellor, too, is right to focus on using incentives to encourage those who can work to remain in the labour force and this should figure prominently in the March Budget.
Immigration is an important short-term palliative, but cannot remain an excuse for British businesses not to invest or train up domestic workers.
In many places that need levelling up, the real unemployment rate exceeds the number of job vacancies; labour supply is a greater problem in the South.
Ministers can make the system more generous, easier to access, and contributory – but must rediscover their appetite for reform.
There is a danger, not to mention an irony, in a conservatism that views a mother, carer, or retiree as just an inactive worker.
If all young people who are received support as effective as Spear, it would mean 130,000 young people moving into employment, simultaneously filling over 10 per cent of the vacancies that are so troubling British businesses.
Is he fated to be a fire-fighter, a leader grappling with crisis? Or can he find the political space to deliver a more personal message – perhaps to do with education?
Despite the rhetoric, it looks as if ministers have given up on bringing numbers down in favour of anything to give the economy a nudge.
We now have created a situation where the OBR is effectively setting the immediate stance of fiscal policy. If economic expectations are poor, the finances look poor, so austerity or tax hikes follow – but these in turn make the economy and finances worse.
There is a limit to what can fairly and sensibly be achieved by raising other taxes and cutting public spending – especially when it comes to pay.
These may take time to bear fruit, but must reassure the markets now that the growth path in expenditure will be measurably lower. Such measures must involve doing less, as well as doing things differently.
Businesses and employees are only responding to monetary conditions set by the Bank of England, where the real responsibility lies.
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Such a policy, already successfully delivered in Manchester, could transform thousands of lives by helping those who are willing, but not yet able, back into work.