Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kicking away the ladder, as young swell dole queues

IT'S OFFICIAL. Unemployment is climbing in Britain, even though public service cuts and sackings have barely begun. Overall unemployment has risen to 2.5 million, the highest it has been since the last time the Tories were in.

A record number of young people are out of work, one in five 16 to 24 year olds , according to the latest figures. The overall unemployment rate is now 7.9 per cent, but for 16 to 24-year-olds it is 20.3 per cent. Martina Milburn, chief executive of youth charity The Prince's Trust, said: 'Britain is now perilously close to seeing one million young people struggling to find work.

'At this time when there is huge pressure on the public purse, Government, charities and employers must work together to help young people into jobs and save the state billions.'

The government gave its answer this evening. MPs voted by a majority of 59 votes to scrap the Educational Maintenance Allowances (EMA) which were introduced by Labour to encourage teenagers to stay in education, by helping those from poorer families. Labour's education spokesman, Andy Burnham, told MPs that social mobility would be "thrown into reverse" by their abolition. He said it was an attack on the aspirations of young people.

The allowances are means tested, and range between £10 and £30 per week.

Tory Education Secretary Michael Gove claimed the grant had been "poorly targeted" adding "Choices are dependent on the money - and where is the money coming from?" Speaking as it had become clear that the banks were once again paying out billions in bonuses, and the government's VAT rises will be adding to new inflation, the minister insisted "You cannot spend money you do not have".

The ASCL head teachers' union criticised the scrapping of the allowances as "absolutely the wrong move" and a "false economy".

While some students held a teach-in in a Houses of Parliament committee room, others marched from Piccadilly Circus to Westminster to protest the scrapping of the allowances. "The government think they can get away with targeting vulnerable people," said Tali Janner-Klausner, 19, a part-time student at City Lit college. "Some of the cabinet are millionaires and the government's propped up by big business… they don't understand what £30 a week means to many people."

Earlier, commenting on the youth jobless figures, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: 'We face a real danger of losing another generation of young people to unemployment and wasted ambition. By abolishing EMA, pricing young people out of university and cutting support to get them back into work, the Government is punishing youngsters for a mess they didn't cause.

'Employment is now falling at its fastest rate since the recession and many of those finding work are settling for insecure temporary work. With the worst of the cuts still to come, this government risks making high joblessness a permanent feature of our economy. It must change course before it's too late.'

Poor kids not welcome at the 'Bankers' School' - (but it's nothing to do with class, so we're told)

NOW, just to show the bankers are interested in more than profit and bonuses, and the Tories are not just mean skinflints, here's a heart warming tale from the London borough of Wandsworth, where else. I've commented before on the Tory borough's enterprising ways of disposing of housing stock, back in the 1980s, and now it is showing its generosity with education.

Born in Battersea, Viscount Henry St.John Bolinbroke, the Elizabethan statesman was educated like David Cameron, at Eton. The Bolingbroke Academy, being built on the site of the former Bolingbroke hospital, is being supported by some equally illustrious names from the City, among them NM ­Rothschild, Credit Suisse, Citi Group, Barclays Capital, Coutts, Normura, HSBC, Morgan Stanley and RBS.

Some 29 people opposed plans to redevelop the site for flats, and parents who want it to be one of the government's promised "free schools" are being helped by the Ark education charity.

But to set the ball rolling, Tory-controlled Wandsworth council is spending £13million buying the site and more public cash will be needed to convert it into a school. The estimated bill to the taxpayers for running the academy will be £6million a year.
Still, everyone with kids can look forward to the advantages of having a new well-resourced school in the neighbourhoood, right? Wrong.

Just 1.3.miles from the new school is Falconbrook primary, The majority of its pupils are from working class families whose average wage is £33,280 a year. And recent Ofsted reports reveal many of the kids have learning difficulties and ­“behavioural problems”. Some are up to a year behind in their learning progress.

Bolinbroke Academy will not take children from Falconbrook. But those from four other schools in the area will be accepted.

Wix Lane primary, is 1.5 miles away but families of pupils there earn an annual average wage of £81,120, according to figures compiled by the GMB union. That’s almost twice the average £43,680 wage in the capital. Ofsted reports it as a “good” school, the second highest grading. The remaining three, Belleville, High View and Honeywell, are all in areas with higher than average incomes.

Labour MP Lisa Nandy said: “This is a shocking indictment on the Government’s policy on free schools, transferring money from the poor to the rich.

GMB spokesman Paul Maloney said bankers who had to be bailed out with billions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash had “acquired a taste for using public money to fund their pet projects”.

He called on Deputy PM Nick Clegg and his ministers to ­intervene to stop the “grab for public money by a small group from a well heeled area”.

Mr Maloney added: “This spending on the bankers free school is a disgrace as there are surplus places in existing schools in the borough.

“These schools are in desperate need of capital investment to upgrade and maintain them and funds for this have been cut.”

A spokeswoman denied class was at the centre of the decision to snub Falconbrook school.

She added: “There is nothing sinister going on.”

I'm sure there isn't. Just something dextrous.

Thanks to my fellow blogger 'Stroppy Bird' for drawing attention to this, and to the Daily Mirror for the story.

Read more:

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home