Brent Liberal Democrat Leader rebuked for ageist remarks in Council chamber

Councillor Paul Lorber, Leader of Brent Liberal Democrats, today received a rebuke from Brent Council’s legal department for making ageist remarks in the Council Chamber. Councillor Lorber made the remarks towards me during a debate on the closure the accident and emergency unit at Central Middlesex Hospital. Councillor Lorber implied that my youth meant that I should not be commenting on such an important debate.

The most disappointing thing for me is the negative message Brent Liberal Democrats send to young people across Brent when they say things like this. At a time of record youth unemployment and when young people are struggling to make the transition from education into the work place, we need to be sending signals to young people in Brent that they can and will be a valued part of our economy, not undermining the role they play in society.

Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council said:

“In the Labour Party we fight against discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, age or religion. I thought this was an issue on which we had a lot in common with the Liberal Democrats, but apparently not. Discrimination like this is never acceptable. I hope Councillor Lorber will make a full apology to Councillor Hirani.”

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.

University applications down

An article on the BBC website has revealed that initial figures show that “University applications for 2012 are running at 9% below last year’s level.”

Even more concerning, is that “when overseas applications are taken out, the figures show a 12% drop in applications from UK students.”

I sincerely hope that it is being monitored what our young people are doing instead of going to University, given the huge intake drop. If people are not going to University because of choice, we cannot fail the next generation by not providing quality further education and training opportunities and support to make sure they are well equipped and have the skills necessary to enter the labour market.

Meanwhile, the One Show on BBC1, broadcasted on Monday 24th October (video only available for a limited time) revealed that when interest payments are taken into account, people who take out the maximum loan amount could find themselves paying £75,000 in debt.

Another survey has revealed that 10% will be put off going to University because of the new fees system that will start from next year onwards.

Observations from Labour Party conference 2011

Last week I attended Labour Party conference 2011 for the first time.

One thing that I was moved by was by how far the Young Labour movement had come and is progressing. The Labour Party is the natural home for young people and the Party has recognised the importance of young people and the role they play in the Party.

In Refounding Labour, the Party has given Young Labour the power of an affiliate vote so that in future leadership and deputy leadership elections, Young Labour will be able to nominate a candidate as an autonomous group.

At a Young Labour fringe meeting, Ed Balls also revealed that one in four members of the Labour Party were under 27! The Tory equivalent, ie. one year after they lost the 1997 election, the average age of their party was nearly 70!

I was also delighted with the amount of very young Councillors that Labour has. I thought I was young when I was elected at the age of 24 last year; but I was meeting Councillors in their teens!

The future’s bright, bright red, the future’s Labour!

Join the Labour Party now for 1p

Under 27s can now join the Labour Party for 1p. The offer lasts until May, but it will be the best penny you will ever spend. It’s hard being a young person in Brent today. I left University with a debt well into 5 figures. Now that I am working, I get money directly taken away from my salary and given to the Student Loans Company. Take it from my own experience. It’s hard.

Under Lib Dem and Tory plans which will treble tuition fees, an even bigger chunk will be taken away from people’s wages which will affect the life decisions that people make. It could determine where people can realistically afford to live. What goods they want to buy. What they can afford for their new born children. For that reason, I think it’s wrong what the Coalition Government are doing to young people in Britain today.

You can make a difference by becoming actively involved in politics and joining a Party that has treated me as a young person in Britain today well. I have always felt welcome in the Brent Labour Party and I hope to stand by and support other young people who wish to join me and take up the offer of becoming a Labour Party member for 1p. Click here to join

… and it’s never been a more better time for young people to join the Labour Party in Brent. We have recently set up Brent Young Labour which serves to be the young wing of the Party in Brent. It gives young people the opportunity to have a meaningful collective voice within the Party as well as to interact with eachother and build confidence to reach their aspirations in life.

Future Jobs Fund Cuts is a false economy

Unemployed people in front of a workhouse in L...

Fellow young people are telling me all the time that it’s hard for them to enter the labour market.

Many have worked so hard to gain qualifications but are then denied the opportunity to practise what they have spent years training for.

The Future Jobs Fund, introduced by the last Government encouraged firms to give young people opportunities and gave them the opportunity to gain practical working experience.

It gave recruitment subsidies which helped people unemployed for six months or more into work. Recent employment figures have indicated that it was an initiative that was working. However, the Coalition Government’s decision to thoughtlessly slash the Fund is another blow for young people.

Hidden Grant Cuts

When Yvette Cooper said that women would bear the brunt of the cuts, I disagreed and still do. I think that the real losers are children and young people who have been quite frankly targeted by this Coalition Government.

The obvious cuts that reflect this is the Building Schools for the Future cut and the Future Jobs Fund, which was designed to support young people into employment.

However, the most alarming element of the cuts to our schools is in the detail. The small hidden grants. This includes help for things such as teenage pregnancy, advice for children and families, debt advice, all being cut grant by grant as highlighted by Councillor Mary Arnold in the Willesden and Brent Times this week.

Would young people be targeted as much if they were able to vote?