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Economic projections

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Leader of the Opposition n



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"The economic projections disclosed: today. - ■ ? reveal that this Government has washed its hands of the unemployed", the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Andrew Peacock,.said today.

"Even under the most favourable of the projections, which assumes no wage increases in excess of full wage indexation, the unemployment rate is forecast to reach a horrific 11.4 per cent in 1984-85, declining slightly

to a still totally unacceptable 11.1 per cent by 1985-86.

"There could be no more graphic illustration of this Government's callous disregard of the needs of the unemployed. .

"The Government's own projections show that it has set the economy on a path of rising unemployment, inflation rates in excess of our trading partners and excessive budget deficits,' '

"The Government's rhetoric has suggested that it is intent on reducing the budget deficit. Yet according to these projections the Government's own advisers expect minimal reductions in the deficit over the next two years. This, together with the forecasts of wages and inflation

growth, must have a damaging effect on business confidence.

"What is particularly alarming are suggestions that the Government has had these figures available to it for some months. It could have used these figures in its case before the Abitration Commission. Instead it chose to present an

optimistic picture of the economy which it used to support its indexation deal with the unions. A deal whose tragic consequences are now being made clear by the Government's own advisers.

'/This Government was elected on a promise to create 500,000 new jobs. The emptiness of that promise, like so many of its others, is now starkly revealed."

25 NOVEMBER 1983