Labour proposes Budget for jobs

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TAX-SAVING incentives for firms that recruit and train the long-term unemployed were proposed by Gordon Brown, the shadow Chancellor, yesterday as part of an alternative Budget package, writes Stephen Goodwin.

Mr Brown also called for an immediate cut in interest rates. 'It is better to cut interest rates now when there is a clear economic benefit that can be gained from today, than wait for the Budget (on 30 November) when clearly for political convenience the Chancellor wants to announce a cut in interest rates to offset the bad news.'

Mr Brown said that at the heart of the Budget should be measures to bring about a major boost in private-sector investment. Labour claims investment as a share of national income is at a 40-year low.

Labour was going for 'tax-efficient' measures that both created jobs and built capacity, he said. Capital allowances should continue for a further year; there should be a cash-limited small business grant scheme and a new technology incentive.

To generate jobs straight away, companies that took on and trained the long-term unemployed should be able to rebate national insurance contributions for a year. Local authorities should be able to spend more of their capital receipts on building homes and local amenities, and there should be a range of self-financing environmental initiatives to improve energy efficiency.