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Autumn Statement: Employment at "all time high"

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Chancellor George Osborne used his Autumn Statement speech to hail the high levels of employment, which he said is further proof of an economic recovery.

Osborne said employment is at "an all-time high", while unemployment is lower than when the Government came to power.

Osborne said the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has forecast unemployment to fall to 7% from the current level of 7.8% by 2015. It is projected to fall to 5.6% by 2018.

"Jobs are up, unemployment is down and we are removing the cap on aspirations for young people," Osborne said.

Osborne also hit back at critics who claimed the private sector couldn't absorb the job losses created by cuts to the public sector. "Businesses have created three jobs for every one in the public sector," he said.

Osborne began his 50-minute Autumn Statement speech by saying the UK was now growing faster than any other major economy, but he wanted a "responsible recovery" and warned of "more difficult decisions" to come on spending.

Osborne confirmed the Government is sticking to its austerity plan and the UK is growing faster than any other major economy, but the job of recovery was "not yet done".

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls responded by claiming George Osborne is in "complete denial" over the cost of living crisis, saying that real wages will fall this year and next.

Balls said working people are now £1,600 a year worse off than in 2010.