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Jobs are at risk as MPs dither, says top adviser

By Alan Jones

Hopes of an improvement in job prospects could be hit by continued political uncertainty in the wake of the General Election result, an employment expert warned today.

As new unemployment figures were released, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) called for an immediate post-election statement on economic and employment policy.

Chief economic adviser Dr John Philpott said: "The UK jobs market remains fragile with tentative signs of increased hiring by private sector employers offset by mounting pessimism in the public sector, and employers in general still very uncertain about the strength of the economic recovery.

"While the post-General Election political uncertainty is of evident concern to the financial markets, life goes on much as usual in the real economy of business and commerce.

"Employers are looking for a lasting political settlement and, in particular, clarity on the shape of economic and employment policy that will help inform decisions about staffing levels.

Without this, hopes for any marked improvement in job prospects later this year will be dashed.

"Although we would not expect the full detail of economic and employment policy to emerge before a formal Budget statement, whoever forms the next government should publish an immediate outline policy statement with particular reference to the timing of deficit reduction measures, plans for any change to employers' National Insurance contributions, and the scope of welfare-to-work policy.

"For jobs sake, the government must get to work without delay."

Politicians from all the parties will eagerly study today's new jobless figures following last month's 43,000 rise to 2.5 million.

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