Youth unemployment rates are painful

Over a million young people out of work under the Tory Liberals! I am shocked to read that since January there has been an 83 per cent rise in young people on the dole for six months or more (Source: Labour Party).

On the doorstep, young people in Dudden Hill are angry with the lack of opportunities that are available to them to gain an in into the labour market. They are ready willing and able but the Government’s austerity measures and lack of investment has cut off opportunities.

It hurts that we have a Government that believes unemployment is a price worth paying. There is an alternative to cut slower, which would recognise the human cost of the cuts.

I have blogged here about the Labour 5 point plan for jobs LINK.

The importance of the Future Jobs Fund which was introduced by Gordon Brown – later to be scrapped by Clegg, Teather, Cameron and co – should not be underestimated. What it meant that was while it may have been the case that there are not enough jobs, or enough growth in our economy to get young people into jobs, what the fund did was give opportunities to young people to be job ready and gain practical experience. This is far more valuable to our economy, the taxpayer and the individual and their family than for paying to keep them on the dole.

Tory Liberal millionaire ministers who enjoyed free University education at Oxbridge University, only later to come into power and impose tuition fees of a maximum £9k a year on young people today, have failed to understand the needs of the 16 to 24 age group.

Along with economic policy change, we also need fundamental political change. The Government should also lower the voting age to 16. If people were able to vote at 16, then maybe the voice of young people would be listened to more.

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Interesting conversation with a Dudden Hill resident yesterday afternoon

Thought I’d share on my blog my conversation exchange with a Dudden Hill resident recently. Yesterday, following my advice surgery at the College of North West London, I was out on the doorstep, talking to local residents asking if there was anything that I could do for them as their local Councillor or if there were any issues that they would like to raise to me or bring to my attention.

To which a Burnley Road resident said to me… “I tell you what you can do for me. Get rid of those two b******* Cameron and Clegg”.

Sarah Teather’s Education proposals Con-Demned by her own Lib Dem Party members

The Liberal Democrats today gave their overwhelming backing to a campaign against the expansion of Sarah Teather’s Education policy on school academies and have called for a boycott of free schools in the strongest public show of concern by rank and file activists over the party’s role in Coalition Government. They called on all Lib Dems to actively “urge people not to take up the option” of creating the “free” schools championed by Tory Education Secretary Michael Gove and Brent Central MP and Education Minister Sarah Teather.

Teather branded it an “illiberal boycott” and according to the BBC, Teather pleaded to delegates “Don’t vote for a boycott, don’t tie councils’ hands.” However, Former Lib Dem MP Dr Evan Harris argued that it was not illiberal for Lib Dems to be allowed to campaign on issues they felt strongly about.”We must be free to fight the Tories at a local level up and down the country,” he said.

While Sarah Teather pleaded with members of her party to vote against the motion, her Department’s policy was ConDemned for treating pupils like tins of beans.

According to the Guardian, Lib Dem Councillor Peter Downes, who moved the motion said, “Just as the supermarket drives the corner shop out of business, so it will be with schools. When Sainsbury’s provides some new products to lure people away from their competitors, the unsold items in the failing shops can be returned to the wholesaler or sold off in a sale. But not so in schools. Pupils are human beings, not tins of beans.”

What the motion said:

F23. Free Schools and Academies

In relation to ‘free schools’, conference calls on all Liberal Democrats to urge people not to take up this option because it risks:

1.       Creating surplus places which is prejudicial to the efficient use of resources in an age of austerity.

2.       Increasing social divisiveness and inequity into a system which is already unfair because of the multiple tiers and types of schools created by successive Conservative and Labour governments and thus abandoning our key goal of a high quality education system for all learners.

3.       Depressing educational outcomes for pupils in general.

4.       Increasing the existing complexity of school admissions and exclusions.

5.       Putting at risk advances made in making appropriate provision for children with special needs.

6.       Putting in jeopardy the programme of improving school buildings.

7.       Wasting precious resources, both human and material, at a time when all efforts should be focused on improving educational outcomes by enabling effective teaching and learning to take place in good local schools accessible to all.

Point 6 is particularly interesting as it indicates that Lib Dem members want to ditch the ‘Free Schools’ policy and revert back to a scheme similar to Labour’s Building Schools for the Future programme.

However, Sarah Teather responded “I will take into account what they say but it is not going to change government policy, because Government policy is formed by Government ministers,” Potentially rendering the whole episode entirely useless in terms of delivering change.

Meanwhile, out on the doorstep, resentment was strife among residents who had voted for Sarah Teather in May 2010. A former Labour supporter who voted for Teather said “I’m quite distraught because what I voted for was totally the opposite to what I got. I didn’t vote for a Tory Government basically and I will definitely be voting Labour next time.”

I imagine many who voted for a Lib Dem MP across the country will be doing the same.

Say no to Boris Johnson’s police cuts in London

A petition has been opened up by Labour’s Mayoral candidate hopeful Ken Livingstone, to which I am encouraging all Londoners to sign. LINK

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson, is proposing to cut police jobs in London by 455. All of this despite the fact that during his 2008 election campaign, he canvassed that cutting crime would be his top priority. But what he said and what he is doing by cutting police jobs differs a great deal.

During the 2010 Local Election campaign it was an issue that residents were already feeling disgruntled about when I was on the doorstep campaigning. I made it known to residents that your vote in the London 2012 elections is going to be crucial for London’s future, even more so than your vote in this years’ local election.

In the last few months, there has been a series of burglaries in parts of Dudden Hill, and residents weren’t best pleased with what Boris Johnson is proposing.

What’s more is that there is no sense in making these cuts. Yes, we are under increasing financial pressure from Central Government, and the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives nationally are chopping our services left, right and centre, but the Home Office budget for London policing has actually increased! BORIS HAS NO EXCUSES!

People in Brent have voiced their concerns to me and it’s great that Ken has taken the initiative to drive this petition forward. Last month, Ken officially launched his campaign to be the Labour Party candidate for the 2012 London Mayoral elections. His staunch opposition to Tory and Liberal Democrats cuts to our services and his vow to protect Londoners from these cuts is one of the reasons why I will be backing Ken to be our candidate for the 2012 London Mayoral elections.