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Archive for November 2011

Clegg’s ‘youth contract’: what it really tells us

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25 November 2011

So the government is finally kicking into gear over tackling youth unemployment. From next April, £1bn will be paid to companies that give jobs to young people who have been unemployed for nine months or longer. The government will provide about half of each new employee’s minimum wage for six months.

It is expected that 160,000 jobs will be created in this way; a welcome prospect, especially given yesterday’s news that the number of NEETS – young people not in education, employment or training – has hit a record high of 1.16 million.  The TUC has called the wage subsidy “long overdue”, which is something of an understatement. Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by Sam Boyd

November 25, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Posted in Politics

Tobin Tax: Osborne’s deceit

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19 November 2011

George Osborne has always said that a financial transactions tax (FTT, or the Tobin, or Robin Hood tax) would only work with global support. As Germany pushes for the FTT to apply solely across Europe, Osborne wrote in the London Evening Standard last week that,

“The ideas of a tax on mobile financial transactions that did not include America or China would be economic suicide for Britain and for Europe.”

This position infuriates the Germans. A senior ally of Chancellor Merkel said he would not let the “British get away” with “only being after their own benefit and refusing to contribute”. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sam Boyd

November 19, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Posted in Politics

Youth Unemployment: the only solution is growth

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Youth unemployment burst through the one million mark yesterday, reaching 21.9 percent of all 16-24 year olds – higher than at any point since records began in 1992. This represents bad but not surprising news for young people: youth unemployment begun rising steadily in 2004, spiked dramatically during the 2008 financial crash, and has been coasting towards its current record-breaking level ever since. It shows no sign of stopping.

It is in everyone’s interest to stem this tide. Such a huge amount of young people out of work costs taxpayers billions extra through higher welfare payments and losses in tax revenue. The problems that stem are social and psychological as well as economic: it is well documented that extended periods of unemployment at the beginning of a career can leave lasting scars on individuals and communities, creating pockets of long-term joblessness across the country that stagnate for generations. I’m all too familiar with the confidence-sapping drudge of successive months of unsuccessful job searching, as are many of my friends; to be doing it for over a year, as 260,000 young people have now been doing, will have damaging and potentially irreversible repercussions. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sam Boyd

November 17, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Posted in Politics

Might the euro crisis let Cameron off the hook?

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With the European economy in freefall, the Conservatives may have the perfect excuse for our own failing prospects.

Britain trades more with Europe than anywhere else in the world. As the continent descends deeper into economic chaos, hamstrung by indecision and poor leadership, we risk losing the business of our most frequent customers. Between July and August, British exports to the EU decreased by 6.6 percent, or £2.5 billion.

If that’s a sign of things to come, then there is a very real cause for concern: eurozone countries buy 40 percent of everything Britain sells abroad. Although the UK still imports more than it sells oversees, we remain the sixth largest exporter of goods and services in the world. A prolonged debt crisis amongst our biggest buyers will spell trouble for the UK. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sam Boyd

November 13, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Posted in Politics

Rather than ‘lost’, our generation must be the driver of change

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Young people in the UK face unparalleled economic gloom. But rather than letting the ‘lost generation’ become a self-fulfilling prophecy, the young should be at the heart of change.

By any account, these are bleak times for young people. Youth unemployment is at its highest level since comparable records began in 1992: more than one in five 16-24 year olds are now out of work in the UK. Are we facing the prospect of a ‘lost generation’?

Since the eve of global economic collapse in 2007, youth unemployment has more than doubled to almost a million. As the deepest recession and public spending cuts in our history bite, joblessness amongst young people is rising twice as fast as for the workforce as a whole. Unlike in the past, a degree is now little guarantee of paid employment. For those without higher education, the picture is even worse. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sam Boyd

November 1, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Posted in Politics