1 million job vacancies. 5 million on out of work benefits.

Our political economy is broken

Some sobering statistics about the state of modern Britain

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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt

I’ve been saying it for a while and I’ll say it again —Britain’s political economy is completely broken. In recent years, under both the Left and Right, we’ve somehow managed to build an economy in which millions of working-age British people have been pushed onto welfare while, like a drug addict, our business and political leaders have become completely hooked on mass immigration, on importing cheap and often low-skilled migrant workers to try and plug the gaps and prop up this broken model.

Nothing illustrates this better than the dire state of Britain’s welfare system and the eye-watering statistics it’s now producing on a regular basis. Here are just a few of them —as recently highlighted by the typically insightful Fraser Nelson (who I’m joining at a debate in London this week).

There are now more than one million job vacancies in Britain yet a near-record five million people on out-of-work benefits. Britain is massively in debt yet spends £1.9 billion every week, or around £100 billion every year, on benefits for working-age people. Since Rishi Sunak became Chancellor and then Prime Minister, Britain’s welfare costs for working-age people have soared by £33 billion. And by the end of this decade the number of people on disability benefits is forecast to rocket from just over two million before the Covid pandemic to nearly 4 million. “It represents”, notes, Nelson, “a staggering, unexplained, and devastatingly expensive economic change”.

Consider how this plays out on the ground, in communities up and down the country. In the northern heartlands ……