Harman condemns `broken jobs promise'

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Indy Politics
Greater insecurity over jobs will cost the Tories votes in the May local elections, Harriet Harman, Labour's employment spokeswoman, predicted yesterday, writes John Rentoul.

She came off marginally better in a statistical tussle with Ann Widdecombe, the Employment minister. Ms Harman published new analysis of official figures, which show that since the last election the number of temporary jobs has risen but the total of permanent jobs has fallen.

She criticised John Major for his pre-election pledge on Desert Island Discs in January 1992 that he would "recreate jobs, not temporary jobs, not jobs that will last for a month or two months or six months, but permanent jobs to give people permanent security". She said this was "just another broken Tory promise".

Miss Widdecombe accused her of comparing "like with unlike", by taking figures from spring 1992 to autumn 1994. Sources at the Department of Employment said the figures were subject to seasonal fluctuation, despite being "seasonally adjusted". But, even comparing autumn 1992 with autumn 1994, statistics show that temporary jobs rose from 1.3 to1.6 million.