Unemployment – The Single Most Serious Threat to Progress

Unemployment - scourge of 21st Century

The recent unemployment statistics of over 2.62 million if not serious enough in themselves are even more serious given that almost  39% is made up of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 with 1.02 million in this age group out of work. The fact that 286,000 of these are in full-time education looking for part-time work is of very little comfort.

There is already talk of a whole lost generation of people and more importantly a loss of the talent and potential which is desperately needed  to help the UK out of the current economic recession and with 10% of young people classified as a ‘Neet’ not in education, employment and training the problem is not one that can be ignored.

Unemployment data for Northampton between October 2010 and September 2011 has seen a rise in unemployment in Northampton North from 4400 to 5117 and in Northampton South from 2948 to 3383.

It is a desperately serious situation that has to be taken into account when trying to balance the books.

In the past successive Governments, both Labour and Conservatives have absorbed unemployment by increasing the size of the civil service and locally by increasing local authority staffing.

This is no longer an option due to the financial constraints on any Government arising from the world-wide economic situation, and if there was ever a case for resisting such a move you only have to look at Greece, Italy and even, dare I say it, France who have  top-heavy bureaucratic public and civil services, and look where that has led them.

What is needed in the first instance is Education, Employment and Training for the young unemployed based on the needs of the future employment opportunities not on what we have seen in the past, training programmes designed just to reduce the numbers through the provision of meaningless qualifications that employers do not recognise.

A re-introduction of  indentured apprenticeships 50% funded by the employer and 50% by Government would provide the construction workers, electricians, plumbers et al the country so desperately needs which of course will need a sustained commitment from Government working in partnership with private enterprises for it to happen.

If we are to reverse the unemployment figures then it will need a stong level of commitment and leadership at all levels, what is important given the crisis is for all political parties to work together to make it happen, and that may well be even more difficult than the economic crisis itself.