Punishing young people financially is the Tory way

carrot and stickThe idea of giving young people aged 18-21 guaranteed access to education or training or help to find work is obviously a good one, but why spoil it by proposing that such persons should receive a means-tested ‘youth allowance’ at a rate perhaps even lower that the current job seeker’s allowance (JSA)?

JSA is already paid at the extremely low level of £72.40 a week (£10.34 a day) for adults aged over 25 – almost the lowest rate of unemployment benefit anywhere in Europe – and for those aged below 25 the rate actually falls to no more than £57.35 a week (£8.19 a day). It is now proposed in the IPPR report published on Thursday that they will only get this princely bauble if they already had the skills to secure a job or were in vocational training. Continue reading

Unemployment shows we need alternatives to austerity

Today marks the three year anniversary of unemployment breaking the 2 million mark, and figures out today show the 8th consecutive month of rising unemployment. Unemployment jumped by 48,000 in the quarter to December to 2.67 million, a jobless rate of 8.4%, the worst figure since the end of 1995.

The Government’s austerity plan is not working

Private sector jobs have only risen by 5,000 but cuts in public sector employment, for the same period are 67,000 in the latest quarter (June to September). Continue reading

Social class, more than generation, dictates work prospects

It is very much in vogue at present when talking about young people to refer to them in the context of a generational stitch-up. The post-war generations – or more specifically the ‘baby boomers’ – are said to have left the rest of us high and dry, with little in the way of job prospects and less in the way of savings and assets to our names.

For lots of young people the future indeed looks decidedly bleak. There is a good chance that during the lifetimes of today’s newborns even the prospect of retirement before arthritis and incontinence set in will be considered a hopelessly utopian throwback – as out of place as cassette tapes and VHS are to today’s twenty-somethings. Continue reading

Youth unemployment: Young Labour should make its voice heard

When I was a member of the Labour Party Young Socialists, we prided ourselves on being as much of a pain in the arse to the adult party as was humanly possible.

In those rare moments when we were not heatedly discussing finer points of the Transitional Programme and passing resolutions demanding the nationalisation of the top 200 monopolies, we organised regular protests and demonstrations against the Thatcher government. Continue reading

Unemployment – a price not worth paying

Yosser Hughes from 'Boys from the Blackstuff' with the headling "gizza job"The awful rise in joblessness, so long expected, is now under way – not from a base of a million as in the 1980s, but upwards now from a very high platform of 2.5 million already. Yet the Commons exchanges debating this yesterday were disappointing. Osborne, summoning himself up to his full stature of smug and dismissive arrogance, used two tactics to divert the Labour attack. He is a born provocateur of the most shameless and brazen kind, and constantly taunted Balls with every aspect of Labour policy with which he thought he could cause trouble, to which Balls unwisely responded time and time again, thus enabling Osborne to transform the occasion from a bruising denunciation of Tory economic policy into a long-drawn-out, pugilistic, knock-down brawl. Sadly, unemployment was the loser. But there was worse to come. Continue reading