X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

The government must prevent young people from falling into the benefits trap

20 November 2013

4:24 PM

20 November 2013

4:24 PM

Despite promises to be ‘tougher than the Tories’ with regards the welfare bill, shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves MP was today batting away headlines suggesting that Labour was considering plans to scrap benefits for the under-25s.

Reeves’s insistence that neither she, nor the party, support a worthwhile report from the influential, left-of-centre think tank, the IPPR, should raise concern. Not least because the IPPR raised similar points to those of the Prime Minister in his speech at this year’s party conference. In it he outlined plans for an ‘earn or learn’ scheme and recommended that young people are taken out of the welfare system altogether.

This is disappointing from a Labour Party that has committed itself to helping the one million young unemployed into work. So far, they have failed to offer any credible alternative to popular Tory welfare reforms and there is an obvious disconnect between political peacocking and coherent policy action.

This is a real shame. It would be a huge let-down if Reeves’s appointment did not lead to an energetic rethink of Labour’s jobs policy – and, as a campaigner for the young unemployed, my worry is that the under-25s can only expect more of the same inertia from the Labour Party on the issues that matter to them.

[Alt-Text]


Based on a detailed assessment of Denmark and the Netherlands, where youth unemployment rates are less than half that of the UK, the IPPR rightly call for a rebalancing of our welfare system. Young people must be prevented from falling in to the benefits trap, so that later on they will not need to be rescued from it. By ensuring that school leavers take a job or start training, nobody will be cut adrift at 18 years old.

The vast majority of people – from the left and right, from business and the voluntary sector – know this is the best thing to do. It is the way to end our structural unemployment problem, revitalise communities and guarantee sustainable economic prosperity. The policy works and the politics stack up too.

The Tories realise this and have seized the initiative on welfare reform. By continuing with this fruitful strategy, they collect gold stars from card-carrying Conservatives and target voters alike. Cameron’s ‘earn or learn’ scheme would simultaneously tackle youth unemployment (a ‘soft’ Tory issue that matters to both young people and baby boomers) as well as cutting the benefits bill and trimming back the welfare state (a ‘tough’ Tory issue).

By getting behind this new wave of welfare reform, Labour would feel the electoral advantage, steal the Conservatives’ electoral trump card and leave Tory strategists deflated. Most importantly, though, they would be honouring their commitment to help the one million young unemployed.

The Tories have an open goal now. They must use the Autumn Statement to build on ‘earn or learn’ and fix this toxic issue once and for all.

Lottie Dexter is Director of Million Jobs 

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close