BROWN'S SPEECH on Tuesday gave a glowing account of the British economy. That's not how it seems to thousands of workers across Britain who learned in the last week that they face the dole.
Some 8,000 textile workers could be sacked as a result of Marks & Spencer's drive to boost profits. The retail firm cancelled a contract with textile company William Baird last month. Some 4,000 Baird workers received redundancy notices last week, and thousands more could face the axe too. Days later M&S cancelled its contract with clothing firm Daks Simpson, which may cost a further 800 jobs at two factories in Scotland.
Over 1,000 jobs have gone in the north east of England with the closure of the Rothmans tobacco factory and the area's last colliery at Ellington.
Rolls Royce, the aero engine manufacturer, is set to cut up to 400 jobs at its Derby plant.
Brown announced this week that the New Deal will be extended to all the unemployed, not just the under 25s. That means workers who get thrown on the dole will be harassed and threatened with the loss of their benefits. Brown also threatened that some unemployed workers could be forced to sign on every day.