By Matthew Barrett
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Chris Grayling, the Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions with responsibility for employment, told the BBC News channel that the figures demonstrate the hard task the government faces, but that the government will have its determination to deal with the problem "reinvigorated":
"It underlines the nature of the challenge we face, and I think will reinvigorate our determination to take steps that will get the economy growing, to support business and try and create an environment where the private sector can continue to grow the number of people it employs. It is in fact still growing – the number of jobs in the private sector – we have to give them even more support to do more."
The Minister was also asked about Labour's "Plan B". Mr Grayling pointed out that attempting to increase debt – while in a debt crisis – doesn't make economic sense:
"I am still at a loss to understand how a crisis internationally that was started by much too much borrowing, where excessive levels of borrowing in other countries are causing real difficulties… I'm at a loss to understand how us going out and borrowing more money is going to solve our problems. The question we should be asking the Labour party every time they ask for a plan B is, how much more money do you think this country should actually borrow?"
Mr Grayling seemed to be hinting at a revitalised growth strategy. John Redwood blogged this morning about the different options the government has available to encourage growth, but says that such growth strategies would not "make much difference to the UK growth rate". Read the whole post.