Employment minister Chris Grayling has dismissed claims that drastic government spending cuts are likely to result in mass unemployment and insisted private firms are gaining momentum.
Speaking after the release of the latest batch of employment data, the Epsom and Ewell MP told the Newcastle Journal growth among private sector companies has helped to generate 17,000 new jobs in north-east England alone.
"For those who say the private sector can't take up the slack, here you have one quarter of economic growth where the private sector has expanded employment by nearly 300,000," he explained.
Mr Grayling cited the recent improvement in the region's employment market as "absolutely clear evidence" that the improving state of the UK economy will see businesses create scores of new positions over the coming months.
Office for National Statistics figures showed that 286,000 people across the country found jobs in the second quarter of 2010, although unemployment fell by 8,000.
Posted by Ross George