Brown said Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will be betraying a generation of jobless people unless he uses a Budget for "jobs and growth" he is set to deliver on Wednesday to increase support for the growing ranks of the long-term unemployed Britons.
“Government complacency is betraying a generation of unemployed,” Brown said. “The pandemic hit a year ago but the government’s failure to move quickly is condemning a whole generation of young people to joblessness and rejection and many to mental depression.”
His remarks come as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said last week the unemployment rate rose to 5.1 per cent last month – a five-year high – amid the destructive impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the UK economy.
The ONS said the jobless rate increased by 0.4 percent on the previous quarter and up 1.3 percentage points on a year earlier.
Nearly 1.74 million people were out of work in the three months to December, up 454,000 from the same period in 2019.
A government program - known as the Restart scheme announced at the Spending Review on 25 November 2020, was supposed to give people, who have been out of work for at least 12 months, enhanced support to find jobs in their local area.
“The Restart programme was supposed to offer a job to those have been out of work for 12 months. By the time men and women are offered places this summer and autumn, thousands will have been out of work for 18 months,” Brown said.
The fact that not a single British worker had been helped by the Restart scheme is scandalous, he added.
“And worse even than this shocking blow to young people, is the scandalous failure so far to place just one adult on the government’s program for the long term unemployed.”