Not in Employment, Education or Training – describing the young, long-term unemployed. Some bloke from a Blairite think-tank, Demos was brought on to Radio 4’s ‘Today’ to discuss the idea that Youth unemployment was growing, had been growing for some time and young people are finding it hard to get the first jobs.

“Entry level work has dried up for the last 10 years…”

…he said, though he did not make the connection, the national minimum wage act was introduced in 1998, at a low level at first, where it had little immediate effect. However the populist ratchet – steady increases in the minimum wage (often clawed back by Gollum Brown in tax-rises) has slowly done what we savage right-wing nut-jobs said it would: make the unskilled totally uneconomic to employ.

NVQs have their place – when earned on the job they can demonstrate skills learned, but the statist idea that Government training schemes and a bit of paper can make someone attractive to an employer must be challenged for the idiocy it is. The only skill most unemployed lack is the regular habit of work, and this can ONLY be addressed by a job – a first job is going to be easy, boring, possibly unpleasant and probably low-paid. That’s why they demonstrate willing. An NVQ from a government mandated training scheme suggests you aren’t willing to take shitty work, and aren’t very bright either.

The halting, stilted interview with a NEET reinforced an impression of a state “education” system which fails to prepare people for any form of work – her speech peppered with

“…like… um…”

I thought she was a teenager. She was 24. Her NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) had not, as she thought, helped her into a career in journalism, but had instead signalled (clearly and accurately) that she was, as the unkind acronym suggested, ‘Not Very Quick’.

The demos interviewee suggested removing employer contributions from NI for the under 25s. Of course that writes off those children of Blair who are 25 now, but have never worked and risks having young people sacked once they hit the line that suddenly makes them a bit more expensive to employ, but he is thinking along the right lines. But why not slash all taxes on the low-waged (I find it disgusting we take any tax at all off someone earning £10,000 a year), and scrap the policy which caused this human misery in the first place: The minimum wage. Let people get a job – as they gain skills their wage will go up, instead of throwing a generation on the permanent scrap-heap of unemployment.

That army of listless hoodies outside the local job-centre is not a result of the credit crunch – though some of it may be, most have been there for many years. It is mainly the result of policies introduced many years ago. The 25 year-olds, educated under Labour to expect well-paying jobs straight out of school, or conned into believing that a 2:1 in “media studies & Gardening” from Northampton university is in any way equivalent to a proper degree, now find the world of work to be not what they were promised. 50% of people getting degrees and demanding employers pay uneconomic wages does not change the economy. These kids’ expectations were raised, then cruelly dashed.

Once again, the Labour party used legislation to try to make water flow uphill, and ended up destroying lives.

14 replies
  1. KevinWard76
    KevinWard76 says:

    From what (little) I have seen, Labour are also partly responsible for young adults being unemployable.

    I keep hearing that Labour spent more money on schools, education and school buildings, but it seem that standards actually went down during their reign.
    We now have many children joining secondary school, with depressingly poor writing and writing abilities – two basic skills that are needed in the workplace – and then leaving, five years later, without much of an improvement.

    The other part in the is the role of the parents. If parents don't involve themselves in their child's life then a lot of what the state does will be in vain. For example, children are raised with little concept of politeness, respect, tidiness, timekeeping… again, these are attributes that are vital in getting, and keeping, a job.

    When you put the lack of these two groups of important attributes together, it's no wonder so many young people are unemployable…

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    NuLabour's "uni for all" has backfired miserably causing jobs that were originally say 5 "O" Level entry jobs now requiring your Gardening Degree for Northampton. The unfortunate thing is that it's now going to cost even more to get that useless degree.
    I agree with much of what you say but let's face it a business model based on offering jobs paying any less that £5.93/hr is a pretty shitty business.

  3. Votefor
    Votefor says:

    Sorry , lost my comment during registration and just checking if OK.
    Briefly , glad you are looking at this REAL problem.
    Money should follow the employee , not pay for vast bureaucracies and learning establishments , better outcomes all round.

  4. Simon Jester
    Simon Jester says:

    I agree with Anon@9:31 that a business model based on offering jobs paying less than £5.93/hr is probably not very good, but would point out that even such jobs are better than being unemployed, if that's the only alternative.

  5. Malcolm Bracken
    Malcolm Bracken says:

    For a 16 year-old school leaver still living with mum in a former mining village in wales, £5/hour would make him well off compared to his peers, hell even the £3.64 an hour youth rate will do that.

    Because he's not worth £5.91 or even £3.64 to an employer, he can't even get that. Because he can't get that, he will never get anything, ever.

    I'm not suggesting £5.91/h (£13k FTE)is the right, or wrong rate. No-one can because no-one has the information, let's leave that to the market, but is it right that such a person pays Tax and NI?

  6. manfromthefuture
    manfromthefuture says:

    aside from the issue of minimum wage, the amount of employers NI should be addressed. currently empNI = 12.8% and employee around 11% (goes up in april?). this means total NI exceeds income tax at basic rate. It's why we didnt see income tax officially rise under labour; the rises were hidden in NI.

    neverthless these costs make the total footprint of the employee much more expensive. worse, from 2012 evil compulsory pension contributions start to phase in (rising from 1% to 4% of salary by 2017). contributions are from the employee and employer, making the footprint even bigger.

    there really isnt any point in young people getting a "proper" job. instead, they should find work cash in hand as tradesmen. that's the only chance they'll ever get of being solvent.


  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Jackart, I agree with your point that lower paid workers should not be paying standard rates of tax. However, I have always thought it necessary that EVERYONE pays at least something in -visible- tax, however small. In this way they may actually care about how much and on what the Govt spends; everyone would perhaps be more motivated to challenge waste and to vote. Of course there should be a lower rate of tax, say 1%, for the low paid. Maybe this is off the current topic.

  8. Woolfiesmiff
    Woolfiesmiff says:

    The current UK average salary is £22k pa on that the average worker after tax, NI, Vat various excise duties and green levies gets to keep 35p out of every £1 they earn. Thats why 9 million people don't bother to work in the UK, its not worth it

  9. stevehem
    stevehem says:

    I think that part of the problem is that we are now part of a larger EU free trade area, transport costs have dropped, and that it's practically impossible for things to be manufactured in the UK competitively with China.

    Professional services are still largely unaffected by free trade (how many Polish barristers are practising in the UK at the moment?). Better paid public sector jobs are also protected, but it's hard to see how we will ever get any amount of basic manufacturing back given the burden of the bloated state that we are saddled with.


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