Home > Great Britain > PMQs Wed. 22 April.

PMQs Wed. 22 April.


Here we go, the usual Punch and Judy from Tory glamour boy, David Cameron asking as usual negative questions seeking a momentary score against Gordon Brown, a Cameron who fails to listen.  After his little moment of joy the Tories  then continue the rest of  the session in jeering and noise, which actually confirms they are not fit to govern.  The usual silly question from Nick Clegg, desperate to save the Liberals from extinction.

The part of PMQs which boy Cameron makes his contribution:

HOUSE OF COMMONS: Mr. David Cameron (Witney) (Con): Today’s unemployment figures are a reminder of the human tragedy of this recession: young people leaving school and university unable to get a job, and families facing tight budgets as people go on to part-time work or lose their jobs altogether. Before we hear the Budget from the Chancellor, I want to use this opportunity to get the Prime Minister to confirm some simple facts about the state of our economy. First, will he confirm that today’s unemployment figures show that what we have seen so far this calendar year is the fastest increase in unemployment in our history?

The Prime Minister: That is exactly why we are taking all the action that we are taking. Unemployment is rising[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker: Order. Let the Prime Minister speak. He is entitled to speak.

The Prime Minister rose—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker: Order. Do not tell him what to say!

The Prime Minister: There are still 29 million people in work, nearly 3 million more than there were 10 years ago. We will continue to do everything we can to help people into work and help people to stay in their jobs. That is why we have extended tax credits so that they can help people on short time to have a living income. That is why we have taken action to ensure that there are 35,000 more apprentices in our country. That is why this week we introduced a scheme to help people who have been unemployed for six months to get back into work. That is why we are prepared to spend the money and invest it where it is necessary to do so. There is not much point in the Conservatives coming and telling us that they want to do something about unemployment if they oppose every measure that we are taking to deal with it.

Mr. Cameron: The fact is that the Prime Minister’s schemes are not working. The forecast that the Chancellor made in the pre-Budget report of the level of unemployment at the end of the year was reached this morning, in April. That is the truth about these figures.

In terms of the figures, will the Prime Minister confirm that there are now more young people not in employment, not in education and not in training than ever before? Can he give us the figures for that?

The Prime Minister: I have looked at this very carefully, actually, and there are nearly a million more young people in education, training or work than there were in 1997. If the right hon. Gentleman looks at the figures for those aged 18 to 24 or 16 to 24, he will see that nearly a million more young people are in work or training.

Mr. Cameron: Talk about massaging the figures! I asked the Prime Minister for a very simple fact: how many young people are out of employment, education and training? The answer is 857,000. That is the highest number on record. Even before the recession began, it was higher than when Labour came to power. If the Prime Minister will not even acknowledge these facts, how on earth are we going to make any progress?

Let me turn to the public finances. Will the Prime Minister confirm that next year Britain will borrow more than at any moment in our peacetime history—yes or no?

The Prime Minister: First, on unemployment and young people, let me just give the right hon. Gentleman the figures so that he is absolutely clear. In 1997, 3.9 million 18 to 24-year-olds were working or engaged in full-time education. The figure is now 4.7 million. In 1997, 5.2 million 16 to-24-year-olds were in full-time education or employment. The figure is now 6.1 million. I am giving the right hon. Gentleman the facts, and these are the facts. There are more people in work, training or education than there were in 1997, and I challenge him to deny that fact.

The second issue is public borrowing. In every country, borrowing is rising. The right hon. Gentleman will find that borrowing is actually higher in America than it is in Britain. The reason is that having lost substantial revenues as a result of the economic crisis, we are still prepared to take the action necessary to help home owners, to help people into jobs, and to help businesses. Once again, the question is this: will the Opposition stop deciding to cut public expenditure at a time when it is most needed, and will they support us when we give real help to people now?

Mr. Cameron: What we have heard is a complete failure to address the facts. When the Prime Minister was in opposition, he talked about youth unemployment, not the number of people in jobs. The fact is that since Labour came to power, unemployment is up and youth unemployment is up.

The Prime Minister talks about the deficit. The Chancellor is about to stand up and, I believe, say that we are going to borrow around 11 per cent. of our GDP. There is no other country in the G20 with figures as bad as that. If we do not have a Prime Minister who can accept the facts, we are never going to make any progress.

Let me try another fact. In terms of the recession, will the Prime Minister confirm that, far from this being “not as bad as the 1980s” or “not as bad as the 1990s”, we are now, in Britain, in the deepest recession since the second world war?

The Prime Minister: I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman has asked that question. In the early 1990s, interest rates went up to 15 per cent. In the early 1990s, inflation went up to 10 per cent. In the early 1990s, the Conservatives did nothing when people were worried about their mortgages. In the 1990s, they did nothing when people became unemployed. And who was the chief economic adviser to the Chancellor at the time? None other than the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Cameron: Perhaps on another occasion we can talk about some of your chief advisers and what they have been up to. It is about time this Prime Minister realised that as well as bringing the country to the brink of financial bankruptcy, he has brought his party to moral bankruptcy. The truth is—we are going to look at the facts—that this is the deepest and most painful recession since the war. On this day—a day when the Chancellor is going to have to explain that unemployment is rising faster than ever before, that the number of young people not in education, employment and training is higher than ever before, that Britain is borrowing more than ever before, and that the recession is as deep as I said—will the Prime Minister finally admit that he did not abolish boom and bust?

The Prime Minister: Every crisis that has happened since the second world war has been the result of high inflation pushing interest rates up, causing businesses to go bust and forcing people to get unemployed. That has been the traditional economic crisis we have faced, but this current crisis is happening even when inflation is low and interest rates are low. [Interruption.] If the Conservatives do not want to understand the solution, they will not even understand the problem. This is a global banking crisis, which we are dealing with through measures that in every case the Conservatives have opposed. If they want to do something about the economic crisis, they should support the measures we have been taking.

Mr. Cameron: On this day of all days—on this day of judgment—let me have just one more go. When the whole country can see that we had a boom and we are now in such a deep bust, what is it about the Prime Minister that he cannot admit what everybody knows: he did not end boom and bust?

The Prime Minister: The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that we are dealing with a banking crisis that has infected the rest of the economy, and if the Conservative party does not face up to that, it will never be able to solve the problem.[Interruption.] I am not going to go back to the days of the 1990s—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker: Order. It is getting to the stage when every day I have to tell you, Mr. Gray, to be quiet when a Minister is replying to this House. You have got to pack it in.

The Prime Minister: We are not going to go back to the days of the 1990s of 15 per cent. interest rates, when we did little to help people with mortgages. This week we have announced a mortgage rescue scheme that will help—as will our other measures—thousands of families in the country. This week we have announced measures to help young people who are unemployed. The Chancellor will be announcing measures that will not only help jobs, but build for the future. But to do that we have to invest in the future; we cannot cut our way out of this recession. That is the difference between the two parties…”

The above is originally from the UK Parliament web site.

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