Coffee House

Employment is booming. What does Rachel Reeves have to add?

22 June 2014

2:24 PM

22 June 2014

2:24 PM

Here’s a funny thing: Labour claims to be the ‘party of work’, but the Tories have reasonable claim to be the workers’ party, given that they’ve overseen the creation of 1.5 million new jobs. Anyway, it was one of the slogans that shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves incanted on her Sunday Politics interview this morning, when she seemed to have a pretty torrid time of it.

She had to defend her party’s leader against his cratering approval ratings and the embarrassment of a leaked election strategy document which shows that people don’t trust him on immigration, the economy or welfare. And she had to defend a policy that doesn’t seem to have been thought through: plans to withhold jobseekers’ allowance from 100,000 18 to 21 year olds unless they either have A-levels (or equivalent qualifications) or are in training.


As Andrew Neil pointed out, the problem of youth unemployment  goes far beyond than the 100,000 who Labour estimate will be affected by their policy: there are 975,000 young people aged under 25 who are NEET (not in education, employment, or training) in the UK, according to the latest figures. And the latest fall was far more than the 100,000 – more than Reeves is planning send back to college (and a fat lot of good that would be to the 40 per cent who have the numeracy skills of a nine-year-old).

But it’s not quite clear why Labour needs to deny them the dole: this is not an unsolvable problem. Indeed, the number of out-of-work young people is also dropping fast: the number of unemployed 16-24 year olds is dropping at the fastest rate since before 2000.

All told, you can see why Rachel Reeves was prevaricating so much in today’s interview. Britain is midway through a jobs boom, for young and old. There’s not much for her to really add.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • Chas999

    Labour are the party of unemployment. Every single Labour and Labour led government has left office with unemployment higher than when they assumed office – by an average of 76%

  • Lina R

    Andrew Neil gives them all a hard time. The reason she struggled was because it’s a flimsy policy affecting very few people and saving only a minuscule amount of a mammoth budget. If young people are struggling to find work – as many are – maybe it has something to do with the dumbing down of education, mass immigration and the benefit ‘entitlement’ culture Labour cultivated for 13 years.

  • Mike

    What does she have to add ? Nothing !

    I’d prefer it if this screeching harridan kept her mouth shut before someone else does it for her !

  • Dougie

    But, given Labour’s Compulsory Jobs Guarantee for young people (remember that?), who exactly is this new policy aimed at?

  • Smithersjones2013

    What does any Labour politician add?

  • saffrin

    975,000 young Brit’s out of work for no reason other than the LibLabCon’s immigration policies.

  • Levinas
    Seems, like central government produced statistics, this article is rather incorrect. Or perhaps it’s just more Tory lies.

  • bugshead

    She is not the sharpest knife and she is batting on a sticky wicket. Bad combination. How to get decimated by an extremely good presenter. Would love to see Ed Millipede being grilled by Andrew Neill on Labour’s economic policies, he would do no better than dear Rachael

  • jesseventura2

    She doesn’t look Butch enough to be a labour minister?

  • Frank

    The problem with Rachel Reeves is that she is not the sharpest pencil in the box (by a long distance). If she is the best Labour can field to defend their policies, Labour is toast.

  • ohforheavensake

    Y’ do know that Labour’s poll lead is up?

    • Lucy Sky Diamonds

      Backed by the immigrant vote. Without the immigrant vote Labour are a lost cause.

  • Max Permissible

    Regarding the youth unemployment problem – what is to be done with the frighteningly large number of “yoofs” who are incapable of performing any useful employment whatsoever and who are equally incapable of improving their lot? I mean, it’s not as though we can just liquidate them or offer them £5,000 if they’ll consent to being sterilised.

    • rugby god

      who gets the £5k? the person doing the liquidating? Ooooh, I offer my services, as long as I get to choose the method of dispatch

  • swatnan

    Its Summer in case you’ve not noticed and there is a lot pf seasonal work going like picking hops and fairgrounds and deckchair attendants. Rachel will say they are not real jobs, which is true.

    • Sinceyouask

      In what sense are they not real jobs? They are activities which turn labour into cash. Most of us started with such work, learned the work ethic and gradually improved ourselves. That is not demeaning, but empowering. I am distressed by left leaning politicians, however well meaning they may be, belittling workers. They do not help those in work, and handicap those who are not.

    • 2trueblue

      Young Rachel needs to look up the term “Seasonal Work”., harvesting our crops so that the goods can end up on our plates. It is work. People travel to this country to do such work. Some of our inhabitants think it is beneath them.

  • Inverted Meniscus

    Yet another ludicrous, preposterous, incompetent Labour idiot desperately wrestling with the central paradox of the Labour Party: ‘how can we redistribute wealth while destroying wealth at the same time’. A fatuous person from a fatuous party.

  • The Masked Marvel

    This is the real evidence that Red Ed is in trouble as leader. It’s much more damning than how silly he looked eating a bacon butty or how supposedly weird he is in person. A front bencher, Reeves has to come on air and use her limited faculties to promote falsehoods, whilst another one in an important position, Umunna, was so woefully unprepared the other day that Laura Kuenssberg had to call him on it. Who put these people in these positions? Who leads the party of such useless ideas? He does. The Guardian has realized it, the BBC is slowly accepting it, and maybe even the Spectator will finally come out and say it like it is.

    Aside from that, it’s moments like this that loonies seize on as proof that the BBC is right wing, or pro-Tory. In actual fact, Neil is equally tough on all sides of the political spectrum all the time. The same people who worship Paxman as being tough on everyone, even though he clearly never was, somehow never see the same thing in Neil. He does reveal his views from time to time, and they are generally on the right, economically, which he shouldn’t do, according to BBC rules. But he is the rare case of fairness at the BBC, yet this episode will be remembered by the loony left as evidence that the BBC is right wing. To make up for Kuenssberg preventing Umunna from having a great showing, they brought him back on air today so Andrew Marr could let him spout nonsense about how the people who voted for UKIP recently were the ones who are too ignorant to know how to use email or fill out an online form, and a Labour Government would help them succeed in life. And then claim polls show how great a leader Red Ed is.

    • Grumpy

      ..and didn’t Umana make a prize chump of himself?
      (Sorry the letter i on my keyboard gets stuck sometimes)

      • The Masked Marvel

        Indeed he did. Unfazed by Kuenssberg telling him his so-called policies were mostly empty platitudes, he performed the same soliloquy for Marr, who was a much more receptive audience.

        Unlike Red Ed Balls and that strange teenage boy he’s married to, Umunna isn’t dangerously deranged, and clearly has a useful intelligence. For him to sit there and repeat absolute rubbish, knowing that it’s rubbish, and making sure to drop in praise for Miliband at random moments, as if he had his own earpiece down which instructions were being fed, shows him for the shallow, slick operator that he really is. And he and Reeves are the future of Labour leadership? Small wonder the Grauniad natives are getting restless.

  • Colonel Mustard

    What does Rachel Reeves have to add? Winged monkeys and a few spells I should think.

  • DaveTheRave

    But we still have over 2 million unemployed!
    On the face of it the ‘booming’ jobs market is good news, which it is, but there are some very serious caveats.

    I’m sick of the old party politics and I think much of present Tory policy is social democratic, or ‘Liberal Conservative’ to quote someone else, so let’s not believe everything we’re told. Tories the ‘workers’ party? Come on.
    1. How many of these jobs offer zero contracts?
    2. Even those with jobs are not likely to be able to afford a mortgage quickly
    And 3. With interest rates likely to start to climb shortly, what solace is there among the millions who already struggle to pay a mortgage?
    I’m no Labour fan, no way, but this sham of a government does not fill me with any confidence for the future of the vast majority of the population.

    • Alexsandr

      Forget the zero hours contract argument.

      Anyway, if you want to keep interest rates down to help home buyers you dont want a government that will be borrowing more. Because a government that borrows a lot pushes up interest rates.
      And the housing shortage? Well lets ask the party that brought in uncontrolled immigration. Cos you cant discuss housing without considering immigration. with an extra 3 million odd people of course there is a housing shortage. Pity no-one thought of that in 1997.

      • 2trueblue

        No on thought at all for the 13yrs. Just spin and the BBC continually parroting Liebores mantra every day.

      • Ian Walker

        I’m sure they thought of it. They thought ‘with people reliant on the public teat for dole money, and incoming foreigners who think a Labour Party actually gives a damn about workers, and a massive housing shortage that we can blame on “toffs,” we’ll get voted in for at least 13 years until we screw up the economy as usual.’

  • Fraziel

    Rachel Reeves is an idiot but employment is not booming anywhere except London.

    • Alexsandr

      I know businesses in the midlands who are struggling to find decent staff.

      • Lucy Sky Diamonds

        You mean struggling to find staff prepared to work for rock bottom wages.

        • Alexsandr

          well one business needs a qualified mechanic to replace a guy who left to start his own business He needs him ASAP to keep his current customers cars working. He already has an apprentice.
          One guy needs a shop person who is computer literate and can serve the customers. full time job.
          guy has a caff needs someone to work in a caff for 3 hrs a day 11 -2 for 2-3 days preparing food, washing up and perhaps some waiting.
          I dont think any of them are proposing slave wages.

        • Dutchnick

          Your value to an employer is based on your ability and education, that is your worth to an employer. Our Birmingham office has struggled to recruit some of the professional staff they require and have had to up the pay offered, the market, it works! For junior trainees he general level of literacy and numeracy is absolutely dreadful, I do not blame these kids as they have progress through an education system that has desperately cheated them and sadly it is not the formal education alone but the false impression of their success and achievement and that the world owes you a living, They think it is an entitlement when they would be hard pressed to be employed as a traffic cone. Almost nothing else matter than to cure Labours Legions of 25%, (certainly in the case of Labours fiefdom in Wales’) that leave school with no qualifications whatsoever.

  • bill40

    Employment is not booming anywhere except London. Reeves tried to defend Millbands’ ridiculous tory lite policy which does nothing to address the scale of the problem. Slack is now a permanent feature of the UK economy and our employees have less protection than those in the BRICS.
    No party is even asking the right questions so it’s no wonder they get all the answers wrong.

    • Alexsandr

      well I know there are vacancies for the right people in the midlands. So you are clearly wrong there.

      • bill40

        I never said there weren’t vacancies elsewhere and what if you aren’t the right sort of person? I find your comment frankly inane.

  • Kitty MLB

    Oh poor Rachel Reeves, an intelligent and what was a sparky woman who has unfortunately cloned into one of Ed Millibands
    stuffed parrots . She is no supporter of Ed Balls and has said
    Labour are not representing their core voters..yet her words turn
    to dust.
    Labour are the benefits party and the Conservatives are the
    workers party. Labour are for doom mongering , Conservatives
    are for positive thinkers.Labour mess things up and Conservatives
    clean things up.

    • telemachus

      You are disingenuous
      Our glamorous Rachel dealt well with a typically highly partisan Murdoch Reject Neil
      I have no doubt that come the election whatever the economic or employment indicators the voting public will want to return to an egalitarian agenda
      Folks are getting pretty tired of for-us-and-ours Osborne
      As for your snide remark about the Charismatic one Rachel is a frequent dinner guest of Ed and Yvette

      • Holly

        She makes herself appear to be a plank!
        Typical lazy Labour bod, who gets others to do her research, and it looks like without her equally useless researchers, she knows nowt.
        I am NO fan of this programme or it’s presenters, but Rachel had nothing to say when challenged about voting against the welfare reforms that would help the welfare cap being met.
        All she could prattle on about was that in the last FOUR YEARS, Labour had voted for the welfare cap, and even that was only ‘in principle’.
        I lost the will to live by that stage and turned her droning voice OFF.

        • telemachus

          She did well to keep her cool with Neil and not punch him in the throat

          • Holly

            Pebbles on a beach…matey.

          • P_S_W

            Is she going to apologise for you saying that?

          • allymax bruce

            Interesting comment; why do ‘tv interviewers’ think they are ‘entitled’ to harrass, harangue, insult and slander guests & by-extension, viewers ?
            Nowhere else in Society would this demeaning, nasty ugly baracking behaviour be tolerated. TV presenters & interviewers are ugly people; especially BBC Scotland, STV News, Channel 4, Sky, etc; you only need to look at the subliminal doom-propaganda being meted-out on Scottish tv screens with the BBC program ‘Scotland 2014’; they have a doom-mongering end-times red background; what’s that supposed to mean!

      • ButcombeMan

        If she is, she should keep better, more intelligent company.

        Ed & Yvette are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

        This interview was a car crash, just hopeless.

        Poor girl

        • Holly

          Was Balls the driver?

          • ButcombeMan

            Probably. The poor man seems accident prone.

        • telemachus

          Ed and Yvette are the future
          Folks are beginning to crave the egalitarian message that they represent
          As to car crash, most came away realising what a slimy toad Neil is

          • Alexsandr

            oh you condone leaving the scene of an accident then?

            • telemachus

              Careful Alexandr
              Mustard is advised by Counsel

              • Alexsandr

                b0110cks will be advised by harman. she has experience.

                • telemachus

                  Indeed a delightful Counsel who will do Ed proud

              • Inverted Meniscus

                He has admitted it you moron.

                • telemachus

                  You see
                  An honest man

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Only when caught out on CCTV and advised by the Police. His original and utterly preposterous claim was that he didn’t realise he had hit another car. So no, not honest.

                • telemachus

                  Any spin to do a good man down

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  No that is what happened. Labour the party of lies, lying and liars.

          • ButcombeMan

            The thing about Brillosuely is he is equally persistent with them all.

            It is rather un gallant to put this poor innocent girl up against someone like Andrew Neil, who does his homework.

            More than un gallant, plain stupid politically. The poor girl does not think fast enough to deal with an old pro like Neil and she was badly prepared by those who advise Labour.

            • telemachus

              My concern is that unlike Paxman who crucified them all, Neil gives the right of centre spokesmen a relatively free ride

              • Colonel Mustard

                No he doesn’t. You are lying again. I have seen him give plenty of Tories a really hard time.

              • ButcombeMan

                That is just your perception, because most of Labour’s current crop are so amazingly inept.

                Brillo is far better than Paxo, is not lazy, does his homework, learns his brief.

                They (your lot) seem to be trying to groom Rachel for bigger things.

                It is not going to work. Nice enough, but not mentally agile to the degree required.

                Putting someone like her, against Brillo, was unfair to her.

            • Colonel Mustard

              I did enjoy Kuenssberg’s demolition of Chukus Yermoney. The expression on that poseur’s face as he realised he was actually getting a hard time from the BBC was priceless.

      • The Masked Marvel

        Right on cue. Well done.

        • telemachus

          I am heartened today that the Speccie photo gallery has taken a kinder turn to the forces of reason

          • Holly

            She is wearing a pink jacket with pink eye shadow for gods sake!

            A Barbara Cartland for the here & now?

            • telemachus

              You mean it should have been red
              But pink will do

              • Holly

                Meaning it should have been more ‘subtle’ at her age.

            • Grumpy

              Look at the photo above VERY carefully. It is clearly Ed Miliband in a wig.

          • The Masked Marvel

            I don’t understand your banter.

      • 2trueblue

        Remind me. Are you referring to Ed and Yvette who had trouble deciding which of their houses was their main residence, when they wanted to sell and avoid paying the tax?

      • David B

        You mean like France! The two ed’s growth strategy policy experiment working well

      • Airey Belvoir

        She’s obviously had some voice training, but still sounds like fingernails down a blackboard. More work needed.

      • jesseventura2

        The greedy Balls up Coopers?

      • allymax bruce

        “The True Measure of Any Society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members” (Ghandi).

        Westminster Tories & Labour party’s, cut welfare from £200 billion, down to £120 billion; and cap it at that severe low level.
        Iain Duncan-Smith & Rachel Reeves, cuts the Welfare budget to half
        of what it was, caps it at an all-time impoverishment low in ‘British’

        What would Ghandi make of Westminster ?

      • ButcombeMan

        tele Dear boy.

        With your relentless cheerfulness about Labour and their truly sad front bench, why do you not wend your way over to Labourlist and set about cheering them all up.

        The mood in the Labour camp is dreadful after Rachel’s car crash.

        Ed is apparently finished.

        A sad group of losers. They need you. To make up the numbers probably.

      • GraveDave

        Poor Kitty. I think she’s probably superglued her only pair of Tory beerglasses to her nose. She never seems to take them off. Certainly not when reading the Speccie , anyway,

    • allymax bruce

      “Labour are the benefits party” (Kitty). Kitty, please consider this; Tories & Labour have voted to cap welfare to £120 billion, from £200 billion; Iain Duncan-Smith & Rachel Reeves, cuts the Welfare budget to half of what it was, caps it at an all-time impoverishment low in ‘British’ history, while still allowing in immigrants to our country at the same levels as Labour were letting them in. Half the Welfare money-pot, but more and more new claimants. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out Westminster is purposely impoverishing the UK.

  • goatmince

    A ‘million new (self-employed) jobs created’ to offset the flood of Labour voting immigrant peasants. It’s all good.

    • Alexsandr

      i have never bought the line all immigrants will vote labour. OK the scroungers will, but the hard working ones who really want to make a go of it wont.

      • andagain

        Oh, I don’t know. To judge from the comment threads on this website, for an immigrant the alternative to voting Labour or LibDem is to vote for people who hate you. I don’t suppose many people will want to do that…

        • Alexsandr

          what rot. People dont hate the individuals, they hate the fact that so many came, and that we dont have the resources for them all. And think the tap should be turned off. I think the hatred is reserved for the labour party who made sucha crass error in this department.
          Think you need to think this through again.

          • andagain

            People dont hate the individuals

            So what? If someone hates a group you belong to, you’d be a very strange person to vote to have them put into a position of power over you.

            And since only a tiny proportion of ethnic minority voters vote Conservative, it would seem that most of them are not strange in that way.

            • Alexsandr

              thanks for putting me right. I will explain to the non-white guys at work I know think immigration has gone too far that they are wrong then.

              • andagain

                Perhaps you should tell them to vote Tory instead.

                But they probably won’t if they think that Tories dislike them, even if they agree with them about immigration.

                • Alexsandr

                  I suspect they may be kippers….

          • Holly

            I don’t think they ‘hate’ the fact that so many came, but they do hate Labour for allowing them in with no thought of the strain this would put public services under.
            You see it is simple…Labour are unfit to govern, they do not think.

    • HookesLaw

      To qualify for a vote in the UK general election first of all you have to be registered. then you need to be 18, a British citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or a qualifying Commonwealth citizen

      EU citizens resident in the UK cannot vote,

      • Alexsandr

        but do the returning officers do this properly? Of if you are on the register you are allowed to vote.

      • Call me TC

        I think he was talking about the two million Commonwealth immigrants over the past 15-20 years. I understand only 15% of non-whites voted Tory at the last election.

  • Alexsandr

    perhaps she could investigate zero hours contracts and find the truth about how many are happy and how many are really exploited. Or look at the gang master system that is really exploitative. (But that isnt a goer as increased farming costs would put up the cost of lettuce in Tesco)
    but she is a vacuous parrot who will just say what she is told. saves thinking.

    • Andy

      To think requires a brain, and in that department she is sadly lacking.

    • realfish

      She doesn’t need to investigate them, a survey has already been done, with the, ‘positive experience of the majority of people employed on them being overlooked’

      That survey was carried out by the CIPD, they themselves no friends of the Tories.

      The survey itself was largely overlooked, also….not least by Rachel Reeves and (apart from a perfunctory mention on its website), by the BBC – the results of the survey not fitting its (and their Labour Party colleagues) narrative.

      • Alexsandr

        thanks for the link. nice one