Union boss says Tory claims on economy are ‘laughable’

A union leader has blasted Conservative “boasts” about the state of the economy as “laughable”.

The TUC published a report saying that the unemployment rate increased and job vacancies fell across the country in the first quarter of the year.

The union organisation said its analysis of official statistics showed that unemployment levels increased by 178,000 across England between October-December 2023 and January-March 2024.

The North West saw the biggest increase in unemployment (47,000) followed by the West Midlands (38,000) and London (37,000), said the TUC.

The UK has suffered the biggest rise in unemployment of any OECD country since the turn of the year, said the report, adding that the rise in unemployment in 2024 has coincided with a slump in job vacancies.

The TUC said real wages were still worth less than in 2008, millions of people were in insecure jobs and long term sickness is at record levels.

TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said: “Rishi Sunak’s economic boasts are frankly laughable.

“It shows just how out of touch he and his Government are – and this complacency is costing Britain dear.

“In every single English region people’s job prospects have been deteriorating – with the unemployment rate rising and vacancies falling.

“The Conservatives are failing working people.

“Joblessness and economic inactivity are up.

“Over four million people are trapped in insecure work and real wages are still worth less than in 2008.

“Our country is crying out for change.

“We need a government that will make work pay and deliver better jobs, growth and living standards.”