Thursday, 17 November 2011

The disturbances this summer may be only a foretaste of what is to come from a generation this government seems to have abandoned

Diane Abbot produced a long whinge about youth unemployment in the Huffington Post.

"It seems as if a whole generation of young people is going to pay the price of this government's economic policies.

A whole generation may be doomed to a lifetime on the fringes of the job market."

The labour market for young people is very fluid. Many young adults are transitioning from education to employment. Others have specific career goals that demand lengthy application processes. Perhaps, the best guide to the youth labour market is the number of people aged 18-24 who have been unemployed for more than six months.

So what does the data tell us?  Long term youth unemployment did increase sharply. Unfortunately for Diane, the greater part of that increase occurred before the last election when Labour were in office. The last available data is for August 2011, when 108,000 young adults were unemployed for longer than a year. In June 2010, that number was 96,000, while in 2008, it was only 38,000.

Throwing around partisan numbers has only limited usefulness. What we need is practical policies to increase growth and lower unemployment. Diane thinks that the solution lies with the public sector. If only the government were bigger, then youth of Hackney would find a job:

"(T)he cuts in the public sector are slashing jobs which the private sector cannot replace. Neo-liberal economic theory says that if you slash the public sector the private sector will grow.

In reality cuts in the public sector also affect private sector jobs in areas like building and construction, that depend on public sector contracts for schools etc."

The answer is simple; more public expenditure creates more private sector jobs. Instead, that stupid Mr. Osborne is "doggedly pursuing policies designed to appease bankers and the bond markets".

Diane ends her post with the ominous threat of violence.

(Mr. Osborne) has to be prepared to rethink his policies. Otherwise the disturbances this summer may be only a foretaste of what is to come from a generation this government seems to have abandoned."

If the coalition doesn't reverse their cruel cuts, then the kids will go out onto the street and trash the local high street.  Forget about elections and democracy, government policies should be designed to placate thieves and rioters.

Perhaps, I am being a little unfair, but it is perhaps useful to contextualize Diane's argument with a few additional observations:

  1. Public expenditure rose sharply during the last 18 months of the previous Labour government. It now accounts for about half of GDP.  At the same time, long term youth unemployment more than doubled.  
  2. The Coalition came to office about a year ago, and long term unemployment is broadly unchanged. However, Diana blames the coalition for youth unemployment, despite the data suggesting that Labour was responsible for the increase. 
  3.  She wants higher  public expenditure, even though the correlation seems to suggest higher public expenditure is associated with higher youth unemployment.  
  4. She claims that we are likely to see more street violence from disaffected youth if the coalition continue to balance the government's accounts.

Hopefully, Mr. Milliband and his colleagues can do better than this....


dearieme said...

She's quite right, as long as "this government" => Blair's and Brown's.

Jo said...

Ask her about her expenses.


Anonymous said...

Definitely Labour's 13 years of misrule are to blame for the mess students are in: spent too much and almost bankrupt the country and also the mess of their education policies. They have a cheek to blame the current Government - give them 5 years before you can blame them

Electro-Kevin said...

Perhaps places like Pret a Manger and Costa should be taxed for every foreigner they employ to cover the expense of one displaced UK worker's unemployment benefit.

They are successful on the back of mass immigration, the costs of which we are all paying for so that they can fleece us of £2.50 for a cup of hot water.

Along with other innitiatives it would get things moving.

I don't think I blame the kids for kicking up now. The whole system has been geared to make them hopeless and useless.

davidb said...

I was in a little cafe a couple of years back where the owner told me his water rates were over £5 grand. A lot of the price of the £2-50 cup of hot water is tax. We start with 42 pence in VAT.

Lionel said...

5k for water?

Elby the Beserk said...

Not quite so simple. Vast numbers of young people are unemployable, and don't know how to work even if they could get work. That is thanks to Labour's assault on the education system, their one-size-fits-all ideology, no-one must lose approach and insane grade inflation. These kids wouldn't get jobs even if there were jobs.

Then there is the fact that for every job our idiot youth cannot take, there's an immigrant ready, willing and able to take it up.

I have my 1960s 'O' Level, Harwood & Clarke Maths text book on my book shelves. Calculus. Integration. Trigonometry. I fear that it would be way beyond most of today's Maths' A level students.

FUBAR. Labour have to al intents and purposes created an underclass for the rest of us to have to deal with. Do not forget, youth unemployment went up year on year under Labour, and out here in the shires, was at 40% when Brown was dragged kicking, screaming and gurning from his Number 10 bunker.

RenterGirl said...

Why blame the young people? So much hatred of people who have never even had the chance to vote for either government. Labour were right wing, and tories in disguise. What then, does that make this current lot of slashers? But those condems can't blame labour for everythign anymore.

Elby the Beserk said...


Where do I blame young people? I don't. I blame education (and of course, bloody awful parenting) for rendering them unemployable. Blame them? Not I. Feel free to read my post again and point out to me where I do.