Women are being particularly badly hit, as claimant numbers have climbed by 7.1% since January 2011, while men have remained broadly static with a 0.1% increase - although that means that 10% of the men in Yardley are claiming JSA.
Yesterday we saw the government's hike in VAT work itself out of the inflation figures, but that still remains high and is outstripping wage increases, meaning that your wages are worth less than they were. One of the credit agencies has put the UK government on notice that our treasured AAA rating is now at risk and George Osborne claims - with a straight face - that this is a vindication of his economic policies. Just as he claimed that when the agencies took the UK off-risk, it was a vindication of his policies. This is, of course, a political issue rather than a practical fiscal one - neither the US nor France have seen rises in the cost of borrowing as a result of losing their AAA ratings and there is no reason to think that the UK would be any different.
Even if we can't find the money for tax cuts from public spending savings, we could add it to the deficit and it is not going to send the markets into a tizzy, I don't think anyone really believes that. The markets will not go haywire if there was a modest loosening in borrowing in the short run if it was for the right reason.
It is becoming increasingly clear that we have been on the wrong track for two years with this government. Growth is the single most important element of reducing the deficit and closing the gap between government income and spending. Osborne's blind faith in austerity will lead us into the same spiral that has afflicted Ireland. It doesn't work and ordinary people end up as the collateral damage in a policy that has failed and was always likely to fail. That's a Tory MP, by the way, David Ruffley.