Wednesday, February 29, 2012

London Youth Down and Out- NY Times

This article makes an interesting reference to the consequences of predatory, profit-maximizing, corporate capitalism, and its contrast with "ordo-liberalism" and social capitalist democracies of Europe.  Recall the European Work Councils post here not long ago.  Does the UK have these EU EWCs?  

For London Youth, Down and Out Is Way of Life

Young and Unemployed: Landon Thomas Jr., a New York Times reporter, looks at the growing problem of long-term unemployment for British youth.
Published: February 15, 2012

LONDON — For almost two years, Nicki Edwards has been looking for work — any type of work. She is 19 years old, well-spoken and self-possessed. But like many young people in Britain, she could not afford to remain at her university, making it impossible to find a job. London’s youth riots last summer have closed even more doors to people like her.
If you are not working, in training or in college, you might as well be a thief — employers just do not take you seriously,” Ms. Edwards said. “At some point, you just say, ‘I’m stuck and I will never find a job.’ ”
Perhaps the most debilitating consequence of the euro zone’s economic downturn and its debt-driven austerity crusade has been the soaring rate of youth unemployment. Spain’s jobless rate for people ages 16 to 24 is approaching 50 percent. Greece’s is 48 percent, and Portugal’s and Italy’s, 30 percent. Here in Britain, the rate is 22.3 percent, the highest since such data began being collected in 1992. (The comparable rate for Americans is 18 percent.)
The lack of opportunity is feeding a mounting alienation and anger among young people across Europe — animus that threatens to poison the aspirations of a generation and has already served as a wellspring for a number of violent protests in European cities from Athens to London. And new economic data on Wednesday, showing much of Europe in the doldrums or recession, does little to bolster hopes for a better jobs picture anytime soon.
Experts say that the majority of those who took to the streets in London last summer were young people who were unemployed, out of school and not participating in a job training program.
Classified by statisticians as NEETs (not in education, employment or training), they number about 1.3 million, or one of every five 16-to-24-year-olds in the country.
While youth unemployment has long been a chronic issue here, experts say the British government’s debt-reduction commitment to rein in social spending appears to be making the problem worse. Insufficient job training and apprenticeship programs, they argue, contribute to the large pool of permanently unemployed young people in Britain.
It is patently wrong for young people to have such a poor start in life, when there is so much more we could be doing,” said Hilary Steedman, an economist at the London School of Economics. “Just because they did not go to university does not mean they don’t want to work.”
Many young people here spend endless months applying for technical jobs for which they do not have adequate training. In many cases, months turn into years, with people remaining on the dole indefinitely. In the most recent fiscal year, the government paid £4.2 billion ($6.6 billion) in benefits to this age group, at least some of which might be better spent on job training, some experts argue.
A well-financed apprenticeship program is an important social investment that can enhance the competitive capacity of an economy,” said John P. Martin, an economist at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, who studies labor market issues across Europe.
Ms. Steedman, a specialist in vocational training, said that Britain lags far behind countries like Germany, Austria and the Netherlands in its use of training programs to introduce young people to permanent work.
Fewer than one in 10 employers in Britain offered apprenticeships in 2010, she said, compared with at least a quarter of employers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. And while government financing for such programs has increased in the last few years, Ms. Steedman said that much of the money went to training existing workers 25 years and older rather than building the skills of 18-to-20-year-olds.
It’s completely perverse,” she said, pointing out that 40 percent of the 500,000 or so apprenticeships go to people age 25 or older. “Companies are subsidizing 25-year-olds who already have jobs.”....

for the rest of article see link below

  • tomfrom66
  • Thornton Cleveleys, UK
I wish this article was on every front page in Britain, and on every news channel.

This dystopia is the result of decisions taken by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s which had the effect of de-industrialising Britain in favour of the City of London.

Mrs Thatcher genuinely believed that Britain could make its way in the world as a financial centre, and a service economy.

A series of ruinous housing bubbles fed the illusion that all was well, but we all know where that ended.

The current government is now requiring unemployed young people to work for the Job Seekers Allowance - workfare - which is having entirely forseeable consequences: Tesco recently advertised for a night worker to work for JSA and expenses.

The reality of the government's Work Programme is the undermining of the Minimum Wage.

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