Labour to set out plan for economic recovery: Government inaction over recession is criticised as Brown cites fear of unemployment as biggest obstacle to the restoration of confidence
Mr Brown told a Westminster press conference that the Shadow Cabinet's economic sub-committee would be meeting tomorrow to consider a four- point alternative to government inaction on the recession.
But he added: 'It is the absence of business and consumer confidence that is the main barrier to industrial recovery in this country, and it is the fear of unemployment that is the biggest obstacle to restoring confidence.
'It is this that is preventing people spending, people investing. It is preventing people moving homes, and it has to be unlocked if we are to have a substantial recovery.'
Attacking the Government's 'stubborn and persistent' refusal to consider alternative programmes, he said the Japanese and other EC countries had taken action and added that shadow ministers would be finalising details of a package which could include measures to reduce unemployment, encourage investment, and revive the housing market, as well as reiterating the repeated call for EC action on high-level interest rates.
Mr Brown said a Labour survey had shown 'huge falls in industrial output and strength', prompting fears that unless action was taken, British industry would become too small to benefit from an upturn in demand. As a result of the post-1990 recession, he said, mechanical engineering output had fallen by 17.8 per cent; footwear and clothing by 13.4 per cent; minerals and building materials by 12.9 per cent; car production by 11.7 per cent; and electrical and instrument engineering production by 7.5 per cent. 'No other EC country has seen such a fall in capacity in key sectors,' he said. Mr Brown's attack on the Government record was underscored by Frank Dobson, Labour's frontbench employment spokesman, who said that more than a third of manufacturing jobs had been lost since the Conservatives took office in 1979.
Mr Dobson said the country was being brought to its knees by the loss of more than 2 million manufacturing jobs - down from 7.1 million in June 1979 to 4.6 million at the end of last year.
In the South-east, the number of manufacturing jobs had fallen by 729,000 to 1,154,000; Scotland was down by 220,000 to 383,000; and in the West Midlands, there had been a fall of 401,000 to 585,000.
'Britain has a Tory government devoid of any industrial strategy,' Mr Dobson said. 'What these 2.4 million people used to make we now have to import instead.
'Britain is supposed to be preparing for the single market to come into operation next January. We were supposed to be building up our industrial strength and fitness. Instead we've been throwing it away. We'll not be on our marks, we'll be on our knees.'
Mr Brown called on Norman Lamont, Chancellor of the Exchequer, to set up an inquiry into bank charges following reports that more banks were considering increases. 'Customers - already facing rising charges in the last year - can ill-afford to pay more,' he said.
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...