Labour targets economic woes

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The Independent Online
AN INTENSIVE Labour campaign against Government inaction on unemployment, investment and the housing market was promised yesterday by Gordon Brown, the shadow Chancellor.

Mr Brown said a Labour survey showed business failures had risen by 20 per cent over the last 12 months and that more than 50,000 firms were likely to go to the wall by the end of the year.

'Companies are now failing at a rate in excess of more than 1,000 a week,' he said.

'Statements which last 40 seconds from the Chancellor after four months of complacent inactivity, when more than two and a half million are out of work, do not add up to an economic strategy for the way forward,' Mr Brown said.

'Business failures are now running at more than four times their level in the last recession.' In many areas of the country 200 unemployed men and women were chasing every vacancy on offer.

The CBI predicted yesterday that there would be no real growth until 1993. Forty-seven per cent of respondents to a Federation of Small Businesses survey last week said they did not foresee any improvement until at least 1994.

Mr Brown said Labour would demand new measures from the Government to remove the fear of unemployment, stimulate investment and lift the depressed housing market, backed up by joint action in Europe under the British EC presidency.

On 7 September, in his first big speech since becoming shadow Chancellor, Mr Brown will call for consideration of the longer-term strategy of 'global' economic policy to tackle issues such as the degree of speculation in the money market.

He is expected to urge greater co-ordination in exchange rate policy and greater co-operation on macro-economic policy by a strengthened G7 group of leading Western economies.