Belfast Telegraph

Labour win would mean 'far more unemployment', Tories say

Unemployment would be "far" higher under Jeremy Corbyn's economic policy, the Work and Pensions Secretary has claimed.

Damian Green said the Tories would not look again at the benefits freeze, and instead said the party would assist people getting jobs, describing the plan as the "most effective way" to help people who may be hit too hard by the rise in inflation.

He claimed the party had been "spectacularly successful" at improving employment rates, but warned fewer people would be in work under Labour.

"If we have Jeremy Corbyn's economic policy with higher taxes on business you can be absolutely sure that there will be fewer people in jobs, we won't have a problem of how can we help people in work, we will have a problem of far more unemployment," Mr Green told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"Every Labour government has left unemployment higher when it left office than when it came to office."

He said there was a "need to help people in work", and argued the Universal Credit system was a "much more modern welfare system which means that people can continue to get help when they're in work".

"40% of people receiving Universal Credit now are in work and that helps to make it a much more gradual slope."

Shadow secretary of state for work and pensions Debbie Abrahams said Labour would "redesign" Universal Credit instead of reversing the benefits freeze.

She told the Today programme the party had decided to opt for a "different approach" and look instead at an "overall package measure" which would make people "better off".

"We believe that the overall package, based on our analysis so far, is that there will be a significant improvement for people on low paid income," Ms Abrahams said.

Pressed on whether the welfare freezes would be reversed if Labour won, she said: "We need to be very clear about this... in the 2016 Welfare Reform Act this Tory government introduced a freeze until 2020 on a large number of social security benefits.

"What we have said is that we will reverse a number of other measures."

Labour has previously said the package of reforms would effectively end the freeze of welfare benefits, with shadow chancellor John McDonnell claiming the measures would make the freeze "irrelevant".