By Daniel Hunter
Unemployment has been an ongoing issue for the government over the past two years, and as such it comes as no surprise that the Labour Party says it will guarantee a job for the long-term unemployed, if it is re-elected.
Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, has said that the scheme would be paid for by restricting the tax relief on pensions for those earning over £150,000 a year,
Over 130,000 people have been out of work for over two years, and Labour have pledged £1 billion to enable employers to meet the cost of hiring these people.
Mr Balls said 129,400 people would currently be helped by the plan, which would be entirely paid for by limiting tax relief on pension contributions made by the 2% of UK earners with incomes of more than £150,000 a year.
However, the government says its back-to-work plans are already helping hundreds of thousands of people get jobs.
"Next week, Labour will vote against government proposals to cap the rise in most benefits to just 1%," the BBC's political correspondent Iain Watson said.
"So they're keen not to be seen as 'soft on scroungers' and to show they have their own solution to bringing down the benefits bill."
Malcolm Small, Senior Pensions Policy Adviser at the Institute of Directors, took a staunch stance against Balls' proposals.
“However laudable Ed Balls’ job-creation aim may be, pensions saving is the wrong target to produce money to pay for the scheme," he said.
"Pensions have been hammered repeatedly by governments looking for more cash, damaging public confidence in retirement saving. If the coalition wishes to encourage people to save more, they should resist calls for further changes to pensions.”
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