Wednesday, 9 January 2013


The Prince's Trust is clearly a force for good in Britain and I have always been impressed by the quiet way it improves lives and communities and helps establish hundreds of youngsters in start-up enterprises. Compared with, say, the Joseph Rowntree charity, which does a lot of bleating about 'poverty', it seems to value deeds over words.

So I don't quite know what to make of 'The Prince's Trust Youth Index', which has some fairly alarming statistics from its most recent survey.

27% of the youths surveyed believe their prospects have been 'permanently damaged' by the economic downturn.

19% said they 'had no future'. This figure goes up to 36% for those who are NEETs.

My first impression was to get quite angry that one in five of our youth believed they had no future. Get a grip, I thought, there's a world of opportunity out there for anyone prepared to graft and use their imagination. Has Britain come to this? I could give cash in hand work to a couple of people most weekends if any were to knock on the door. Pull your socks up! The world owes no one a living! Join the Forces! Go West, young man! etc.

Then I reflected that the survey had probably taken place in inner cities (though it claims it is weighted and representative of all UK young people aged 16-25), in which case we should be cheering that 81% of them DID believe they had a future (and, we must hope, are motivated enough to go out and grab it by the bollocks rather than wait for it to arrive, gift-wrapped, at their door).

Then I reflected further and remembered that youth unemployment in much of the Garlic Belt averages 42% and is as high as 58% in Greece and Spain. And that includes graduates, the highly skilled, the whole shebang.

Perhaps we ought to be thankful and accept that 20% of our yoof is a small percentage, some of them will end up in the black economy, etc etc.


We need, urgently, to improve their prospects. And the way to do that is to put a stop to the sort of immigration which soaks up all the unskilled jobs and leaves our chaps on the dole and a life of benefits or crime, which thanks to the tireless IDS is going to be less feasible an option.

The bottom end of any society needs education, a welfare safety net and programmes to help the unemployed become productive, self-sufficient and to live life without indignity. The Labour Party has been a disaster for this section of our society. To give it it's due, it is in these areas that this government is making some progress. Gove's education crusade is bold and crucial, IDS's welfare reforms rather more timid, but when climbing a mountain thousands of small steps is the only way.

But the greatest difference we can make to those at the bottom of the heap is to protect the jobs we expect them to do from being hoovered up by economic migrants. This is not about race or creed or religion or culture, it's about basic economics. Halt unskilled and low-skilled immigration immediately - there is, on balance, great economic harm in it.


Electro-Kevin said...

I've been saying this for years.

Young people are often expected to work for nothing nowadays. A friend's son hasn't been paid for four years because he's been on an apprenticeship/internship and the company considers that they are doing him a favour.

Would this have happened in anything other than a saturated labour market ?

Immigrant labour is a false economy anyway. It is not cheap when the cost of displaced British workers is added to the tax bill.

Do Starbucks customers get cheaper coffee because of the savings in wages ? No.

Starbucks doesn't even contribute to the economic burden that their 'cheap' workers place on the UK economy.

By now we could have higher wages, lower housing costs, less stress on infrastructure and services, and lower tax.

What an utter betrayal of the working classes.

Thud said...

Coming from a rough area of Liverpool (huyton) I sometimes meet the young sons of people I grew up with and I'm almost ashamed to say I find them alien almost to the point of frightening. The school system has left them so stunted and retarded as regards the world about them that crime etc is just the naext natural step. I've taken on 2 young lads as a favour to two of my tradesman and the last 3 years has been a slog to turn them into even half decent workers.

Nick Drew said...

from a different angle I'm in agreement with EK, it's not new, and I'd date it to the aftermath of the '80s upheavals, which saw the end of 'jobs for life' across the social spectrum (and the beginning of the end of final salary pensions etc)

(some would call this the Legacy of Thatcher)

in the mid '90s I had an ultra-capable 25-year old working for me, she was (very appropriately) being given responsibilities way beyond her years, and was doing a cracking job: everyone knew it, and she knew it, too - the sky was the limit

when it came to annual appraisal time we naturally got round to the traditional questions - so where do you see yourself in 5 years time? what would you like your next assignment to be? etc

I was expecting a response that exhibited an appropriate degree of ambition, but what she said was: well, I kind of like to be interested in what I am doing

now if I had said that at the same point in my own career (15 years earlier) it would have been seen as taking the piss - one was expected to take a serious interest in one's own career-planning & propects

trying to get a better understanding of her attitude, it became apparent that from late teens onwards, she'd seen her father and other male acquaintances lose their previously secure (middle-class) jobs in mid-career, & had to make all manner of unplanned job-switches & compromises, live with unwanted & unexpected uncertainty, all of which was new to the post-war jobs market

as a consequence she had no expectations of stability or even steady progress in her career, and was pretty much living for the day

having thus been given a new perspective on matters I discovered that her peers saw things in pretty much the same way - & these were all fairly high-performing 20-something graduates

if that's how it had impacted on them, how much more fatalism must have been injected into t'working classes ?

things will only change with a revolution as great, or bigger, as that of the '80s

50-year cycles ? these things don't happen overnight