Gordon Brown has pledged to create 100,000 new jobs in an effort to combat rising numbers of redundancies expected in 2009.
The prime minister said the majority of the new jobs would be found in technology and green industries, as well as the public sector.
“I want to show how we will be able, through public investments and public works, to create probably 100,000 additional jobs over the next period of time in our capital investment programme – school hospitals, environmental work and infrastructure, transport,” he said in an interview on Sunday.
“We are not going to stand by and allow nothing to be done when people are facing difficulties.”
But Chris Grayling, shadow work and pensions secretary, said Brown made the announcement to cover up news of the country having run out of money.
“I’m extremely sceptical about Gordon Brown’s job announcement,” Grayling said. “Only last month he delayed his biggest public project – the new aircraft carriers – because the government has run out of money.”
“Brown talks of green jobs and jobs in hi-tech which all sound like a lot and would be important but there is no substance behind it. The forecast for unemployment is so gloomy I don’t think this plan would barely cover last month’s unemployment increase.”
The latest figures show the nation’s unemployment rate has risen to its highest level in almost a decade.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development predicts that more than 600,000 jobs could be lost this year.