20/11/2011 The Politics Show South West


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In the South West: the young people in North Devon out of work and in


the constituency with one of the biggest rises in youth unemployment


since the election. And the new idea to help rural


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2342 seconds


Hello and welcome to the Politics Show in the South West.


The number of young people out of work has increased to its highest


rate since records began. Official figures published on Wednesday show


more than a million people under 24 are now without a job. Jenny Kumah


has been to North Devon to meet young people who find themselves


looking for work in a constituency which has seen one of the biggest


rises in youth unemployment since the last election.


Then Taylor has good GCSEs and has been looking for work for six


months. His dream job is to become a table tennis coach, but so far,


he has struggled to get the experience that he needs. Really


hard, because I'm going to every shop icy, putting in a CV, but no


reply from any of them. It is really annoying when you do that


and there is no work out there so you can't do anything. He is part


of a scheme run by an organisation in North Devon that assigns people


mentors and help them gain experience to help them get work or


further qualifications. 18-year-old Shawn has been out of work for


eight months. I started off looking for mainly computer-based jobs, but


in reality there isn't anything like that around here. Now I am


looking for anything, retail or bar work, anything like that. This


project aims to work with over 250 young people in North Devon by the


end of 2013. Staff here say that, over the past two years, there has


been a big demand for the schemes they offer to people who are not in


employment, education or training. The situation here in terms of


employment has actually become a pretty dire over the last couple of


years. We are facing the fact that we have a lot of rural places


around here, so people cannot travel, coupled with a lot of


businesses closing down, a lot of redundancies. The kind of young


people that we work with, he may well have good GCSE results, are


now in a labour market where they are up against people who have been


made redundant and perhaps have degrees and years of experience.


North Devon is one of the top 10 areas that has seen the biggest


increase in youth unemployment in the country. In 20th May 10, there


were 30 under 25 claiming jobseeker's allowance for six


months or more. That more than doubled by 20th September 11. There


are only seven other constituencies in the country that had seen a


bigger increases. The local MP points to the bigger picture.


think it is a reflection of the global economy. Every time we think


we're just beginning to pick up, there seems to be another problem,


either in the Eurozone, or back in the summer with the American budget.


It is very, very sluggish at the moment, and I am sorry to say it is


going to be a little while yet before we begin to see any genuine


signs of recovery. The impact of this is being felt on the high


street. Here in Bedford, this trader told me she could barely


afford to pay herself a wage, let alone take on any staff. I have had


at least 10 applications for a non- existent job every single week.


Either by Facebook, or CVs that come through my letterbox.


Regretfully, I am not in a position to employ anybody because of the


recession. This week, the Government announced it would


expand its apprenticeship scheme and offer small businesses cash


incentives to take on young people. We have got to tackle this in a


different way. We recognise the seriousness of the problem, and we


are open to new ideas of had to deal with it. There are now more


than one million under 25s out of work, according to figures released


this week. That means that they make up more than one-third of the


total number of unemployed. There is increasing concern on the Labour


benches. Is it the case that no minister in the Treasury, no


official, none of their excellent economists or statisticians, have a


view on when unemployment, especially for young people, will


become a rate of decrease? response, Lord Freud from the


Department of work can pensions said that the Government had been


expecting youth and overall unemployment defaulter was the end


of next year, but this will now have to be reviewed. -- to fall.


Clearly, the implications of what the Governor of the Bank of England


has just said, that growth will be running at 1% this year and next,


and that will presumably be built into those kind of forecasts.


everyone hopes that the economy will pick up soon, and that


government policies will make a difference, a generation of


youngsters eagerly awaits the opportunity to turn their lives


around. Well, earlier I spoke to the


Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth, George Eustice, and the


Labour MP for Exeter, Ben Bradshaw. I began by asking Mr Eustice


whether he worries the Coalition's economic policies aren't working,


given the number of young people out of work.


Well, these figures are disappointing, but I take exception


with the idea that we're not sorting out the economy. We


inherited a huge black hole in public finances and we started to


get to grips with that. I think we have done quite a lot of things to


try to get our economy going again. The growth fund to get projects


going to create new jobs. We have expanded the apprenticeship scheme


so there will be an extra 250,000 new apprenticeships over the next


four years. And recently, announcing this idea of a work


experience programme, loosening the rules for it -- so that people who


are unemployed can get some work experience, which is often the


first step to getting back onto the job ladder. There is a lot of work


going on, but this is all in a wider context and it is a difficult


situation at the moment with the crisis in the euro-zone and the


sluggish growth as a result of that. So this is not the Tories doing, is


it? Labour did give them a dire economy to deal with. The Eurozone


crisis is compounding that problem. Surely this unemployment problem we


have got now is purely a consequence of that legacy? It is a


tragedy for the young people concerned, and it is a scandalous


waste to our economy in the South West and the rest of the country.


Remember, the economy was growing when Labour left office.


Unemployment was coming down. That recovery has been destroyed by


George Osborne's extreme austerity programme. What we desperately need


in this country now our policies for growth to get the economy


growing again, but we also need ambitious policies directed at


young people. We had something called the future jobs fund, which


got 100,000 young people back into work after the 2008 international


banking crisis. We need something as bold as that because we are


actually borrowing �46 billion more under this government that we would


have been under Labour because we have no growth in our economy.


they have introduced these apprenticeships schemes. It is a


drop in the ocean. We need something for -- far more ambitious


than that. What we need most of all is growth. George Osborne is


parroting this idea that the economy is doing fine. We are


borrowing �46 billion more and his government of that Labour would


have done because our growth has ground completely to a halt. We are


in danger of creating a generation, a lost generation of young people.


We are in danger of creating a lost generation of young people, and the


growth isn't there. Baby you have cut the public sector too quickly


and the private sector can't catch up? Looking at the public spending,


I think Labour and people like Ben Bradshaw and Gordon Brown always


confuse public spending with economic growth. They are not one


and the same. Growth comes from creating new jobs, starting up new


businesses, and we do have programmes here. We have got the


new Enterprise Allowance which helps people to set up their own


business. We have also got the apprenticeships - it is a


significant step forward. Could you be doing more to help small


businesses like there are in Devon and Cornwall where, perhaps, they


say that taking on a new trainee is going to cost them money. Maybe you


could actually help and give money towards taxes, it was National


Insurance costs? Well, we stopped the rise that the Labour Party were


going to introduced on national insurance, so we reversed that. We


did so that it was wrong to have this tax on jobs. There are other


things we are doing. We have got the work programme that has been


set up to replace the future jobs fund, which is doing a great deal


to get people back into work. going to stop you there because I


would like to bring us on to this issue of foreign workers. At the


same time as we are seeing young people struggle to get work, we are


seeing an increase in foreign workers who are getting jobs. Is


this something we should be doing something about? There is an issue


here in the sense that the number of people actually employed has


grown in the last 18 months. An employment has grown as well, I am


not denying that, but the number of people in work has grown. A lot of


those jobs have been filled by people coming from abroad. We see


it down here in Cornwall - if you look at farming and food processing,


employers to say they find it quite difficult to get local people to


take that sort of work. We have to change the culture here so that


people realise that quite often the way you progress through your


career is starting somewhere, and starting with a job. We have got to


break this culture where people think there are certain jobs that


are beneath them. We need people to get used to working and being part


of a team and being relied on. Bradshaw, George is saying that the


number of jobs is growing, but young people are not paying them.


Do you think something should be done about this issue of foreign


workers? Gordon Brown pledged to deliver British jobs for British


people - is this will a Labour pledge? Unemployment is rising


after David Cameron promised it would for every year. But we do


have to improve the skills of our young people, but you don't do that


by abolishing things like the Educational Maintenance Allowance,


which has been an absolute disaster in terms of encouraging our young


people in Britain to stay on in work and education. That, I think,


will prove to have been a terrible mistake. Thank you both, but don't


go away just yet because we would like to talk to you about our next


subject, which is fuel duty. On Tuesday, the owner of a small


haulage company in Devon added his voice to those calling on the


Government to bring down the cost of fuel. Julian Webber says his


diesel bill has written to �400,000 a year, now equal to half his total


costs. I just think that they ought to


look at the possible tax relief for hauliers. It is a necessary


expenditure. We have to move stuff, and some sort of tax relief would


really help. The way things are going, this is hard on us. Julian


Webber's plea came on the day that MPs were debating the rise in the


cost of fuel in response to an online petition. In the debate,


George Eustace asked ministers to provide a fuel tax break for


businesses in remote counties like Cornwall.


I think we should consider, perhaps as a strand of regional policy,


some kind of Rebate for businesses that are specifically located in


those peripheral regions like Cornwall. I don't think it should


be beyond the wit of man to devise such a scheme. Welcoming back Ben


Bradshaw and George Eustace. George, this is an issue close to your


heart, I know. You used to run a business in Cornwall which involved


driving strawberries from Cornwall to Birmingham. This would obviously


help businesses like yours, wouldn't it? The point that I was


trying to get across is that fuel tax is a regressive tax, not just


on people who are the poorest or those in rural areas, but


specifically areas that are remote, geographically, and a long way from


the main markets. And yes, I was in business and I knew exactly this


problem - the cost of running a lorry on a single trip to London


and back would be �220 in tax alone. The difference for I company based


in, say, Birmingham going to London and back, would only pay about �80


in tax. This tax hits businesses located in rural areas. If you want


to create jobs and have employers here who produce things and make


things, and we do have an embryonic food processing industry down here


in Cornwall, we have got to make it easier for them to transport their


goods to market. One of the problems icy is that, on the one


hand, we have EU grants and the job growth fund to encourage businesses


to set up here, and then the other hand we are exacerbating the single


most important disadvantage we have here in Cornwall, which is our


distance from the market. We have got to tackle that. I have seen bad


Bramshaw -- Ben Bradshaw shaking his head. We certainly need to do


something to help hard-pressed motorist, but the idea that you


could have a differential price for a rural areas - where do you draw


the line? Along the tamer? What happens to my voters in Exeter? Do


they pay more for their fuel? What motorists need, and what we all


meet at the moment, is a reversal of the Government's disastrous


increase in VAT earlier this year. If we had that now, that would be


three p of a litre of fuel right now. That would help motorists and


none motorists, and give our economy that desperate injection of


growth that it needs. Do you support the score for a reduction


in VAT? In January, the Chancellor is going to put up, potentially,


tax on fuel. What is your position on that? The government did the


right thing, which is to cut fuel tax. Never mind the VAT. They cut


it by 1p. They scrapped the fuel duty escalator which the last


Government had increased. What about in January, this increase of


three pence? I would like to see that stopped as well because I do


think that this is a regressive tax. I think Ben is wrong to say that


this can't be done. Some countries do this better than we do, and the


Government at the moment is in the process of piloting some schemes


which will look at eight rural fuel rebate of 5p a litre. But a scheme


on the Isles of Scilly, how many cars are they on the Isles of


Scilly? That's why it is the right place to do a pilot scheme. They


are also piloting some in Scotland as well. The point about a pilot is


to look at these things. I would like to see that rolled out. Where


there is a will there is a way. It should not be a -- beyond the wit


of man to create such a scheme. I am going to have to stop you


there. Thank you both very much for joining us. There are warnings from


business leaders that millions of pounds of European money could soon


be sent back to Brussels. The money is supposed to be used to nurture


new business ventures and hence provide much needed jobs for the


region. But those concerned say the all-important match funding has


dried up since the recession and strict rules mean the money often


isn't available to small businesses. John Henderson has more.


This is what Europe can do for the South West. Hairdresser Becky is


hard at it, but in that finishing touches to a new business - a salon


in Torquay, where she is confident the risk she is taking will be


successful and provide work for others.


I have got an apprentice who is coming to work for me, and also


another girl that is going to come and help out. She is doing a nail


caused as well. I have got a beauty room at the back which I am renting


out, so there is another job opening there as well, and another


hairdresser will come in to rent a chair from me two days a week. I am


getting a job out of this, and more people as well. Like 50 people this


year, Becky got help and advice from outset Torbay. They got some


funding from the regional European Development Fund. This fund offers


money in various programmes and sub-funds, but it seems there is


still a sizable chunk that has not been earmarked for projects. For


instance, the Politics Show has seen documents that revealed just


over �20 million designated specifically to regenerate the most


deprived areas of Torbay, Plymouth and Bristol is uncommitted. There


is money remaining which is no longer viable for it be used for


the projects in which it was originally intended to be used.


That is an issue. At the moment, that money is not being used. It is


sitting, waiting for someone to come up with an alternative plan.


This money is from the E R D F competitiveness programme, set up


in 2006 for big capital projects in the South West - things like the


Brixham fish market. Now, some believe it should be Tweet to offer


help to smaller businesses. -- Tweet. We do a lot of work with


smaller businesses. The majority of people in the -- businesses in the


South West is predominately in rural areas and most are small with


less than 10 employees. They have a turnover of �100,000 or less. These


businesses have ambitions and plans. They don't fit with the original


ideas of the competitiveness Fund, but they have fantastic ideas and


can deliver growth and create jobs. They don't need large amounts of of


funding, they need small amounts of funding. The fund, in my view, this


fund needs to be more flexible. They know all about the value of


small-scale grants at this Sauchen based firm. It employs 10 people,


making Retail Systems for bank card pin machines. Sometimes the grants


supporters for large projects, but Eden delivers its value through the


employment of a lot of smaller people. It is difficult for


European bodies to get the costs per grant down so that it is more


attractive, but I've been smaller grants are what time needed for


small operations, the goddess -- because that is fostering


entrepreneurial son. The Department for communities and local


government administers the fund and says it will consider all


applications from verbs, both large and small, but it says to a sure


businesses remain viable and sustainable, any applications have


to be matched thundered. With regional development agencies being


wound up, budgets for local authorities being cut, and bank


lending remaining tight, for those at the sharp end, it is difficult


to match any grant. There aren't that many around, as far as I know,


and there is not much money around, as far as I know, since the idea


got shut down - the funding is not there. I am not looking very hard,


I have other things to do with my time, but it does mean that I am


not taking risks and employing people. Some in the South West that


his committee believe the Department has listened to their


concerns, thus avoiding the remote possibility of EU money destined


for the South West being returned to Brussels.


Absolutely. But has got to be a concern. It is not even just that.


We could be making a difference now, and we are not. The longer they sit


on it, the longer it is not making a difference for business.


Businesses have got ideas now. They could create jobs now so there is


even more of an incentive to get things moving. Europe is one thing.


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