Thursday, 19 June 2014

Labour's Youth tax

Today has been a day of mild confusion for me. I've read the link so kindly given to me by Medway Labour with Ed's announcement of the removal of jobs seeker's allowance for under 21s. It says a lot but also not much.

I agree that the benefit system is bloated and needs redress. I know that the budget is shafted and there are cuts that have gone the wrong way such as the cuts to the Coastguard. I also agree that we need to get people out of the benefit trap.

There is, however some serious issues with Labour's new policy. Overall unemployment is down (last I checked) and the overall number of Apprenticeships are up with Coalition policies to encourage large companies to take on people. However there is, naturally, a saturation point where no more can be taken on.

I take the point that we can't all be astronauts and that sitting on the dole waiting or the England call up or for Simon Cowell to snap them up and actually getting off your arse and working and there should be incentives.

My concerns are that not everyone will be able to get into this training. As I said earlier, there is a saturation point and ultimately if we train say 500,000 electricians a year - where are they going to go? People are working later in life to top up their near worthless pensions. This means posts are not opening up as much. Trade jobs such as Electricians, plumbers, carpenters also require a building projects and housing projects, something that is very slow to get off the ground especially with Councils not willing to invest in a lot of regeneration projects of the dire urban centres. The same is true for so many other careers, the Labour motion is trusting that the job market will be able to support all of these apprenticeships and training and that they will have job spaces for the qualified at the end of it. Seems like an awful gamble with our young's lives. This isn't the late 1930s where the population was small enough and an economy that could support growth and workers in factories. Even then my grandfather was forced to become an apprentice and into the army by his father and he always resented the choice being thrust on him. 

I fear as well that with such a large workforce the employers can be "competitive" with their wages i.e. pay them less. If ten people with similar qualifications apply for the same job you hire the one who will work for less. It is good business. 

It also makes me wonder about the fate of older workers in society. In a perfect world no one is ageist and that you get a job on your merits. In reality though employers make business decisions and are more likely to hire a you g back rather than an older applicant who may have family commitments.

It seems to me, as an observer, that between the major parties, things have got really rough for the young. The Coalition took away the education fund, tripled tuition fees to screw up further education, successive governments have made it harder and harder to get a house so now they're stuck living with their parents and now we're taking away the safety net of job seekers allowance and forcing them to pick a trade.

It would be better to put the money into the education system to support A'levels or towards Further education rather than bribing people into a career and life choice or find yourself cut off by the state.

It is just so illiberal, ill thought out and patronising that... I just can't get behind it.