In today’s Budget speech, Darling said the programme Labour set up in January to help those under 24 find employment or training after six months out of work, will be extended to March 2012.
The programme was due to end in March 2011, but because unemployment has been lower than forecast, Darling said Labour is using the money saved to extend the programme.
Darling said four times more jobs would have disappeared if Government failed to act. He said: “It is clear that our approach is making a difference.”
He said figures released last week show that unemployment has fallen and is lower than the Euro area and the US. The claimant count today is at 1.6 million people, compared to three million of the early 1980s and 1990s recessions.
He said: “The claimant count is still lower than the number inherited in 1997. That has happened not by choice, but by the choices we have made.”
Speaking before Darling’s speech earlier today, Prime Minster Gordon Brown said unemployment is never a price worth paying.
He adds: “Unemployment is now falling as a result of the action we have taken. We have saved half a million jobs that would have otherwise been lost.”