25/11/2011 Daily Politics


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Afternoon folks, welcome to The Daily Politics on Friday. The


Government unveils a one billion pound Youth Contract, but how many


of the over one million unemployed young people will it help get back


to work? I'll be speaking to the Employment Minister. 12-hour delays


predicted for passengers at Heathrow, on top of school closures


and cancelled hospital operations. How costly and disruptive will next


Wednesday's co-ordinated strike action be? And how a squeeze on


incomes, tax credit cuts and the rising cost of childcare are a


turn-off for some women voters. We're going back 20-30 years, where


it is a presumption that women will And with me today are writer and


broadcaster David Torrance and former political editor of the


Observer Gaby Hinsliff. Welcome to you both. First this morning, more


dire predictions about the impact of next week's co-ordinated strike


action by members of public sector unions. Bosses at Heathrow are


warning of 12-hour delays as border staff walk out - sounds like a


pretty typical day at the airport to me. Most schools are predicted


to be shut, with many parents having to take a day off work to


look after their children. The strike is also likely to hit the


NHS, where agency staff are being drafted in and some non-urgent


operations are being postponed. Yesterday the Government warned the


action would cost the country as much as �500 million - a figure


contested by the unions. So, David Torrance, it is a day not to fly


into Britain if you're a normal passenger, and if you're a suicide


bomber, probably a good day to fly in. Absolutely, what I find


interesting in this is tracking public opinion. The Daily Mail


today says, is this something of really big? -- is this the


beginning of something really big? It suggests there is a war fund to


cater for several strikes after this one. Will public opinion put


up with one strike, let alone several? That is the question.


Although there is one strike planned for next Wednesday, it does


not change anything, the question is, will the unions do this again


and again, and if so, which way will public opinion go? Lots of


people will put up with one day's disruption, a lot of people will


have some sympathy, actually, with have some sympathy, actually, with


public sector workers, and will feel, fair enough. But if it goes


on and on, will people blame the unions, or will they blame the


Government for not negotiating it to a peaceful settlement? Our TV


screens are full of riots in Athens and Rome, Portugal had a one-day


strike this week, Tahrir Square is up in flames again... The general


attitude might become a we do not want to go down that road. Yes,


absolutely. And there is a sense that the trade unions are out of


touch with reality. Public opinion polls demonstrate that most Brits


accept that some sort of austerity measures are necessary. So if they


continue to go on strike after this one, there will be that disconnect


between what is reasonable and what Well, here's a radical idea. If


some of next week's striking public sector workers don't want their


jobs, there are plenty of unemployed young people out there


who just might be interested. No, that's not government policy - yet.


But the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has been setting out plans


this morning to create 400,000 work and training placements. Last week


youth unemployment reached the youth unemployment reached the


toxic figure of 1 million. There were 1.02 million unemployed 16- to


24-year-olds between July and September. That means almost one in


five young people who are looking for jobs can't find one. Figures


released yesterday also show the number of NEETs - young people not


in education, employment, or training - has risen to over 1


million. That does not include students. Acutely aware of the need


to act, the Government has promised �1 billion across the UK for a


Youth Contract to tackle youth unemployment. The hope is to


provide at least 410,000 new work places for 18- to 24-year-olds This


would see firms being given a subsidy of more than �2,000 for


each unemployed young person they take on for six months. Firms would


also get �1,500 for every apprentice they employ. And there


will be cash, too, to subsidise 250,000 work placements lasting up


to eight weeks. The Government hopes this will silence critics who


accuse it of inaction - and more importantly that it will stem the


tide. I'll be talking about the Government's plans in a moment with


the Employment Minister, Chris Grayling, and Labour's Stephen


Timms. But amongst all this doom and gloom, there is apparently some


good news, because a survey out today suggests that there's been a


significant increase in the number of young people escaping the


competitive jobs market and starting their own businesses. I'm


joined now from Liverpool by Nikki Hesford, who runs a business called


Hesford, who runs a business called Miss Fit UK. Thanks for joining us,


I understand you ended up running your own business because you found


your own business because you found it hard getting a job with the


company. Yes, in April 2008 I was looking for a job in financial


services, going to interviews, and finding that after 35 interviews,


they were all, thank you for applying, but somebody else has got


the job. That was even jobs in �9,500 a year. I had a degree, but


I was not able to get the job. There were 15, 20, 30 people going


for a minimum wage receptionist job. There was just too much competition.


Even though I was more than qualified. You said that tax


credits were important to you go as a single mother, allowing you to go


out to work - have you had any other help from the Government?


There have been some small local grants for starting the business, a


couple of 1,000 pounds here and there. They have been useful. But


the tax credit has been brilliant, because it enables you as a single


parent to have something coming in whilst your business is perhaps not


making anything, to start with. The tax credits will also pay for the


child care so that you can get your business off the ground. Now, or


and employer, what is the quality of the labour market like, the


quality of people? It is quite difficult. We also have a family


restaurant, as well as Miss Fit UK. We have been trying to find waiters


and waitresses and chefs for the past year, and we have been unable


to find people suitable for the job. We're finding that a lot of people


like initiative. There is a sense of entitlement, a lot of people, I


am entitled to this or that. It is difficult to get a strong work


ethic. Just little things like appearance, timekeeping, you would


think that people would be nailing these things, but yet people are


continuing in the Lake for jobs, or they do not turn up, or they do not


come in on Mondays, people do not seem to have the heart and soul to


do a job. Good luck with your business. And joining us now are


the Employment Minister, Chris Grayling, and his Labour Shadow,


Stephen Timms. Chris Grayling, this �1 billion scheme would not have


happened without the Lib Dems, would it? That's not true, this is


a coalition programme. We have been looking at it for some months, we


put the plan together in the department. It is an extension of


the schemes which were already in place, doubling the size of the


existing work-experience scheme... Wasn't it like getting a vegetarian


to going to a kebab shop? That's simply not the case. So, the Lib


Dems are wrong to claim the credit for it? Mr Clegg has been out and


about this morning... That's natural, when you have an important


announcement, either the Prime Minister or the Deputy Prime


Minister will go out and announce it. We are a team. So, you do the


work and he takes the credit. Inevitably, one all the other will


want to play a major part in a big announcement. Oh, yes, we have seen


that. Where is the money coming from? You will have to wait until


the Spending Review or until the Autumn Statement next week. I


cannot pre-empt what will be announced. But is it additional


money? I am not going to respond, I'm afraid. The Autumn Statement


will set it all out. Will the money be coming from tax credits?


still not going to answer that one, I'm afraid. I hope you will be


impressed when the statement comes out by the range of measures to


deal with unemployment. You will have to decide if you're happy or


sad on Tuesday. Can we just get it clear, 4,000 new jobs are not being


created by this �1 billion. Within that figure, it includes 250,000


work-experience placements for up to, and I say again, up to eight


weeks, that's not a new job. work experience scheme has proved


enormously successful, since we launched it in the spring. More


than half the young people going through that scheme have been


getting off benefits and into work. It is by far the most cost-


effective scheme that we have seen in the country in recent years. It


really works, and if you have something that works, you should


build on it. Stephen Timms, you must be happy, this job creation


scheme is not unlike yours, and it will probably just as useless as


yours. It is very welcome, the fact that the Government has recognised


finally that something needs to be done. It is a tragedy that we had


to get such awful youth unemployment figures before the


Government acted. The Future Jobs Fund did not work, either. Well, it


did, of course. This announcement underlines what a serious mistake


it was for the Government to scrap the Future Jobs Fund just after the


election. There's lots of detail we do not yet know. It seems that a


lot of it is about eight-week work experience placements. I would be


interested to know, is the money which is supporting employers going


to go direct to the employers, or is it going to go to the work


programme? I think it is likely to go straight to the employers. We


will sit down with the CBI and others to work out whether we make


payments through the national insurance system or through


different means. But this is a support mechanism for employers


when they take someone on. It is a cash incentive. One of the point I


should make, you would believe, listening to the Labour Party, that


somehow unemployment have rocketed in the last few monks amongst the


young. At the time of the general election, there were 930,000 young


people out of work, that figure has increased to just over one million,


but the idea that this is somehow a creation of the coalition is for


the birds. Long term youth unemployment is up 86% since


January. That is not the case. The previous government buried young


unemployed people on something called training allowance and other


schemes, so the figures did not show the true picture. If you take


a like-for-like comparison, there has been very... Change in the


number of people, young people, unemployed for six months. The fact


is, yours is a variation of the other scheme. They're both much of


a muchness. Your version was the expensive one, but within a month


of it coming to an end, when your time of subsidised work came to an


end, 50% of young people were back on the dole, it didn't work. 50% of


them, however, were in work, including young people who had been


out of work for a long time. does not show how many were


unemployed again after six months, or after one month. The Future Jobs


Fund broke the mould. If you speak to young people, a lot of people


say it changed their lives for the better. It is very welcome that


after this very long time, the Government is trying to make up for


some of the damage it don't. -- it did. Youth unemployment rose


consistently under Labour from 2004 onwards. 2004 was not the recession.


Unemployment among young people rose every year from 2004. The


recession did not start until 2008. You were asking about the Future


Jobs Fund. That was introduced in the recession, and it was


successful in bringing youth unemployment down. Since it was


stopped, it has rocketed again, but it is welcome that the Government


is finally addressing this. If it is true, as the Government said


this morning, that the Deputy Prime Minister made a proposal on these


lines to the Cabinet in January, why has it taken almost a year?


did you scrap one interventionist scheme which does not work, wait a


long while, to introduce another one that probably will not work?


The Future Jobs Fund paid �6,500 to give a young person a six-month


work experience placement, with nothing to follow. The crucial


difference was the minimum wage. What we are doing is supporting,


through the package we have announced today, and through


increased apprenticeships, the start of long-term careers. These


are real jobs in the private sector that will lead somewhere, not a


six-month temporary work placement, to massage the unemployment figures.


You do not know that. One thing we do know is that it does not pay in


this country now to be out of work and to be 25 or 26. Actually, the


work programme, and I am encouraged by the early stages of that, is


delivering personalised support to young people of all ages. Your


subsidy stops at 24, like all of these schemes, having unintended


consequences. If I'm an employer faced with two youngsters, 24 and


25, I will take the 24-year-old, because I get the subsidy. It is


Bye-bye 25-year-old, is that not We are unashamedly helping the


youth, because they are in a difficult position, they need


experience, but how can they get it? Thatcher had the YTS. The it is


the same idea, a subsidy for a job. I am old enough to remember when


the coalition didn't believe in subsidised jobs. They felt that


they didn't need the state to come in all heavy-handed. So what we are


going to see next week is a return to this idea that the Government


was quite scornful of. I remember Gordon Brown doing some of these


measures at his height. We are Isaac -- we are either reaching a


point were the previous government was right, or that they were wrong


and this is going to be wrong again. Having said that, I think there is


a me to be said young people doing something rather than being


unemployed. But it is a gamble on a quick recovery. What is your take?


I am rather cynical about all of these schemes. It did bring to mind


the YTS of the 1980s. Governments have to be seen to be doing


something, and they accept the political reality of that. But in


truth, what reduce his youth unemployment is a healthy, vibrant


economy on the whole, and not targeted assistance. We see from


continental schemes that once the period of assistance has come to an


end, they go back on the dole. Let's not be parochial here. Europe


is awash with the schemes. You go to Spain, Germany, Italy, France,


governments are awash with the schemes, and unemployment among


young people there is even higher than it is here. They haven't


worked. But we are not creating an artificial scheme for short-term


work. What we are doing is in some devising employers. -- giving


employers incentives. This is about creating long-term jobs, not about


creating temporary job placements that massage the unemployment


figures. How is it not temporary of the subsidy runs out after six


months? We are giving the employer the incentive to take a chance on


someone without experience with a financial boost, and that is what


this is about. It is not simply about a short-term job creation


scheme. If employers get a subsidy to employ somebody, they will take


it. Yes, and we want them to! doesn't mean long-term employment.


Time will tell. We have been talking a lot about


potential cuts to tax credits, but the Minister gave nothing away


there. You'll have to tune in to the Autumn Statement live here on a


Daily Politics special on Tuesday. The squeeze on household incomes is


one of the factors said to be losing the Government the support


of women voters. They're getting tax credits cut, they go to the


shops and see how high food prices are. They are not happy.


Karen Miller lives with her husband Darren and therefore kids. They


both work full-time, and spent almost �5,000 a year on child care.


But with their tax credits cut from �90 to �20 a week, Karen says it


may not be worth working. I always believed, growing up and working my


way up through the work chain, that I would be better off, that I would


be able to afford those luxuries. And not to be able to afford those


luxuries is really quite shocking. We do have to consider whether it


might be worth one of us not working. The Government's not about


to reverse cuts the tax credit any time soon. But one MP thinks that


you could cut a red tape and get a cheaper alternative. Eggs -- for


example, in a small village or town where it is hard to get to work, a


mum who is staying at home and looking after her own children


might be able to look after her friends' children as well without


having to go through all the Ofsted red tape. It is a popular idea in a


country with one of the world's most expensive childcare systems.


But the ride Down side to cheap childcare. It is about having well-


trained qualified staff who understand child development, so


that the children and not sitting there doing nothing but getting


some input to help them learn. would rather pay for my daughter to


go to a childminder. She gets such a lot in terms of early education.


But I know that when she goes to school, she will be able to learn


at a faster rate than children who haven't had that social skill input.


And Karen has a message for politicians hoping they can win


over the women voters. I want to work - police tell me. I really do


think that we're going back 20 or 30 years to where it is a


presumption that women will stay in the household, and all that work on


equality has gone out of the window. Kate Conway reporting. Chris


Grayling is still with us. At a time when living standards are


being seriously squeezed because prices, particularly of essentials,


are rising so much more than wages, which are static, more and more


families, both parents are having to go out to work, which makes


child care all the more important. But child care is getting tough, as


we have seen in the film. It is important, and you have to put in


context the changes we have made to tax credits. We inherited a system


row you're paying tax credits to people who were earning �50,000 the


year, and in tough times, you have to draw a line as to how far up the


income scale you can provide support. But by looking at the


introduction of the Universal Credit, what we're doing for the


first time is allow women are going back to work working just a few


hours a week to claim credits for child care in a way that wasn't


possible previously. So we have unashamedly said we cannot do


everything for everyone, but we have strengthened support for


people at the bottom end of the scale. I take the difficulties,


because you have got no money because you have spent billions on


a job scheme, but what would you say to people who want to work,


they have to work because they are the squeezed middle, but they can't


get the child care. What would you say to them? We are providing


through the tax credit system support for child care. That hasn't


changed. But equally, we have got to recognise that in difficult


times financially, there are limits to how much we can rely on that. It


was a hard decision to say that we cannot use tax credits to support


people earning more than �50,000 per year. A lot of the people you


took that away from think of themselves as the squeezed middle


two. Is this one of the reasons why the Conservatives have a problem


with women? I think it absolutely is. The change happened since April,


meaning that you can now claim back less of your child care then you


could, for a lot of mothers who were only just thinking it was


worth working and may be feeling a bit guilty and torn about working,


you reach a point where you are paying to work. You do start


resenting the Government at that point. They are feeling forced to


go back and look after the kids, even if that is not what they want


to do, and it feels like the Government wants women to be in the


home, and I don't think that is what the Government intended. The


result is either women working, or black market child care, cash-in-


hand to a neighbour because it is cheaper. Do you think they are


encouraged to do that? Child care has gone up above-inflation this


year, and wages have not risen. What do you think? I have now taken


child care, I am a single man of 34 x man but I think it is intriguing


that David Cameron seems to be now week with women voters. You are


Alex Salmond's biographer, aren't you? I am, and he has appeared on


Mumsnet and various interviews. It was a PR exercise, essentially. I


wonder if David Cameron might be considering an appearance on


Mumsnet and women's hour. I think we can definitely say that that


might happen! Is it just economically impossible to allow a


child care to be tax deductible? There are a number of things. If


you look at the various ideas and pressures and suggestions, that is


one of the ideas, and of course there are -- people argue for that.


But we are dealing with a very difficult financial position. There


are many things that people might argue we should do, but our real


task right now is to maintain stability in the economy. If we


were to let rip and allow borrowing to rise again in the way the Labour


Party seems to want us to do, the consequence would be that we would


end up with the kind of financial pressures that we are seeing in


other European countries. We do not want to go in that direction.


have a women problem, don't you? think it is up to us to win the


support of voters, both male and female, over the next three-and-a-


half-year us to demonstrate that we are listening. We hear that mantra


every day. Thank you very much, Mr grayling. Time now to see what else


has been going on in the last seven days. It is the week in 60 seconds.


David Cameron and Nick Clegg got to boost the House market, so as a


couple, they went house-hunting. is vitally important to build more


houses. In Egypt, protesters returned to Tahir Square, demanding


that the military stand down immediately. Westminster hard nut


Ed Balls reveals he has a softer side when he told an interviewer


that he cries at the Sound of Music and the Antiques Roadshow. Figures


showed that net migration into 1010 was at a record high, a quarter of


a million more people came to the UK then left.


The Leveson Inquiry has been hearing evidence, some of it


dignified, moving and shocking, plus a string of celebrity


witnesses who pitched in with a few lighter moments. You told me


backstage you are going to bowl me straight balls. If these are


straight balls, I would hate to see your googlies. And unstoppable


problems already facing the eurozone, the last beret maker in


France said it could close within days.


When the Germans cannot sell their debt, and the French can't make


their berets. Then I think we are all in trouble! That is it, Jo will


be here on Monday, and joined Jon Sopel on Sunday For the Politics


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