Among many depressing pieces of economic news is the rise in youth unemployment – the number of young people (16-24) without a job has now hit one million for the first time. To quote the Times leader:
Rising youth unemployment shows that, despite the coalition’s handling of the economy, Britain is not on the right track … Radical action is required, not only to provide jobs now, but to build the industries to provide the jobs of the future.
We have been here before, and fairly recently. The shakedown of British industry in the Thatcher recessions is rather lazily seen these days simply as a necessary evil. But one of its most intractable legacies to succeeding governments was the creation of a group of people who lost their jobs and never worked again. The impact on their families and – where concentrated – their communities was enormous, but slow and hard to quantify.
Aaronovitch is sceptical about Dominic Raab’s ideas for job creation – ideas which include getting rid of the youth minimum wage and reducing workers’ employment rights. He seems a little less hostile to Ed Balls’ suggestions – these include a one year VAT cut on home improvements and a similar amnesty on national insurance tax paid by small companies taking on extra workers.
But the article concludes on a stronger note of approval for Matthew Taylor’s suggestion of a ‘bond for hope’, an investment by members of the public in a job creation scheme for the young unemployed. You can read more about Matthew Taylor’s proposal here.