Miliband pledges 'real jobs guarantee' for youngsters


Ed Miliband: "My ambition is to conquer long-term youth unemployment"

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Ed Miliband has pledged to "conquer" youth unemployment, as he said Labour would guarantee a job to unemployed young people if they came to power.

The party's "real jobs guarantee" would offer six months' work to those aged 18 to 24 who had been jobless for a year.

The Labour leader said the "only answer to a job crisis was jobs" and the £600m policy would be funded by a bankers' bonus tax.

Ministers say Labour cannot afford the pledge and its past plans have failed.

Meanwhile the coalition's £1bn Youth Contract, launched by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, will provide £2,275 to employers to take on a total of 160,000 18- to 24-year-olds for six months.

'Real chance'

In a speech to a one-day Labour conference in Coventry, Mr Miliband said that if Labour were in power, the first line of its Budget would be "real jobs, real wages, a real chance for our young people".


It was in this same venue, before the last election, that Gordon Brown invited voters to take a second look at Labour. Ed Miliband is doing much the same thing.

Opinion polls suggest voters don't know enough about him - or his party's policies.

So he came here not only with an announcement on youth jobs but also determined to tell us more about himself.

He talked about his late father - the Marxist academic Ralph Miliband - who taught him the value of hard work.

He didn't say he also taught him the theory of surplus value, though he probably did. Today the former policy wonk was determinedly talking human.

But he also knows it's important to re-establish Labour's credibility on the economy and highlight its priorities. Hence taxing the bankers to pay for jobs for young people.

But critics would say it's all too easy to promise to take money from the rich.

Regaining economic credibility might require doing more to tell voters what difficult decisions the party would take - what Labour would be prepared to cut in order to fund spending in an age of austerity.

"To business we say, we'll pay the wages, if you provide the training," he said. "To young people: if you're out of work for a year we'll guarantee you the opportunity to work."

Labour's plan would involve the government paying a business to cover 25 hours of work per week at the minimum wage for six months - £4,000 per job.

The firm would then cover a minimum of 10 hours a week training and development, focused on helping the young person to get a permanent job with them or another firm.

But Mr Miliband also warned young people they have a responsibility to take the chance and that "saying 'No' is not an option".

Those taking part will be expected to turn up for work, as well as looking for a full-time job and complete training, or face "tough consequences" - including possible benefit sanctions.

However the party's deputy leader, Harriet Harman, appeared not to know the details of the policy when questioned about it on the BBC's Daily Politics.

'Fully costed'

Asked how much Labour's bankers' bonus would raise, Ms Harman said: "I'll have to get back to you on that." She also appeared not to know how much the jobs policy would cost.

She said it had been "worked out and fully costed" and apologised for not having the figure "at my fingertips".

Shortly afterwards she told the BBC News Channel that the bank bonus tax would raise at "a conservative estimate" about £1bn - however Labour expects it to raise £2bn.

Ms Harman struggled to give the figures of how much a bankers' tax would raise

The Labour jobs initiative is similar to the Future Jobs Fund scheme established by the last Labour government but scrapped by the coalition, which said it was too short-termist and overly focused on the public sector.

But Labour say this scheme is more "intensive" than its predecessor, with guaranteed training and job help.

Mr Miliband said the initiative was different from the government's Youth Contract in that it guaranteed a paid job on the minimum wage and on-the-job training, saying one of the government's work experience scheme was "the only work programme in history which does not guarantee work".


Labour argues the government's scheme subsidises employers without creating new posts - while they would pay for the full wages and ensure that if not enough businesses came forward, the gap would be filled by the state and voluntary sectors.

But Conservative Party co-chairman Baroness Warsi said the previous Labour government's Future Jobs Fund had "squandered millions" on short-term placements.

"This government is committed to getting our country back on track. Labour must stop these irresponsible calls for more spending, more borrowing and more debt in the middle of a debt crisis."

And the Lib Dems said the Labour initiative was a "pale comparison" of the government's youth contract scheme and did not stand up to scrutiny.

"Just like with previous job schemes which Labour dreamt up while driving the economy towards a cliff edge, Ed Miliband's plan does not provide jobs that last," said Jo Swinson, a ministerial aide to deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

"As soon as a government stops paying the full wage, employers would have no incentive to keep someone on."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Oh noes! he's going to do a Gordon Brown!

    More Quality Diversity Manager 'jobs' ?

    No thanks.

    We need to introduce National Service. If you are not in work and not at University... 3 years National Service. No time for riots then.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    So, now we have Ed the Magician! There's no end to this man's talents!

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Funny how Labour realise "difficult choices have to be made" (ie public spending cuts) but every time they say anything they want to spend more money. No change from 1997 - 2010 then.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    He should have a word with Labour's Liam Byrne who may remind him "we have no money left".

    It's an empty promise that he can never keep.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    If companies have real work to be done, they will already be employing people. Therefore this job scheme is likely to displace regular employed workers.

    However I am in favour of this scheme if these trainees are used to work on tasks that are normally outsourced to other countries (eg foreign call centres, garment manufacturers, etc).

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Going by previous pledges and hollow promises I'd imagine Miliband's promise to be something like this (thinking back to tuition fees):

    "1 million unemployed young people is unacceptable... I will cut the number to 999'000!"

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    I started at the bottom three times now in my life and worked my way up then due to changes in the conpany find my job gone work your way up dont make me laugh so am lookinf for any job now with no luck maybe being over 50 and poor hearing is the reason or maybe to many job hunters but I do live very well ( NOT ) on 65 pound a week.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    A good idea on the face of it at least they are getting paid the correct amount however it does not take 260 hours to train to fill sjhelves at tescos but I think it is something that is likely to happen in all walks of life because there is not going to be enough jobs yo go round so the government will guarantee everybody a chance at working for part of there life

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    What a load of rubbish. Anyone who believes this needs their head examined. We're in a bad place when our main competition to NHS and police privatisation is someone who thinks jobs grow on trees.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    What about all those over 24 who are seeking work?

    If you are under 24 you maybe expect to spend a year or two messing about at dead-end low-paid work - the sort of stuff most of us just lump together on a CV as 'non-professional jobs' - before you manage to start your career... and even then I would hope that they would be offered something a little more aspirational and structured.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    All another con to massage the unemployment figures, then Labour can shout out that there are no long term youths unemployed. Waste of money and manpower, you cant create jobs like this

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    "Guaranteed job.."

    Likely secenario...
    Guaranteed bankruptcy

    Keep Labour out of Government - recessions seem to follow them especailly when there are badly thought out schemes.

    Spend more, borrow more, makes the country suffer more - surely he must have learnt this by now....

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    I'm all for getting the youth into work but under this plan, the jobs will be created with government money for six months and then get taken away again when the government stops paying. I don't see how this can work, yes it will give them 6 months paid work experience, but unless Labour has a concrete plan to grow the economy, the permanent, lasting jobs will not be created.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Youth unemployment has been a problem since 2004 when it started gradually increasing. An interview with an employer the other day said the sticking point was that so many young people do not even seem to be able to spell and use correct grammar on their applications. I would suggest better educational standards are needed not false jobs and hope.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Remember Gordon Brown: British jobs for British workers. Labour will never return to office during this century. So we can all ignore Milliband. He would probably restore Labour's open door policy on immigration so we would still have a shortage of jobs. Sorry Milli - your party dumped your core voters. The future is with the more intelligent right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    In reply to 12:

    1. Cut gov't spending
    2. Abolish the minimum wage
    3. End silly employment laws (elf & safety etc.)
    4. Cut taxes

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    What about the over 50s who are long-term unemployed? And what about mums who are returning to the workplace? Why focus only on the young!

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    12.Tiramisu of Logic

    More stupidity from the stupid. There is only one way to create jobs:

    1. Cut gov't spending
    2. Abolish the minimum wage
    3. End silly employment laws (elf & safety etc.)
    4. Cut taxes


    If they worked, that would be at least four ways, I make it. Then there are the combinations...

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    This guarantee presumably applies to the scruffy, inarticulate youths we sometimes see inteviewed on TV. What good will that do? They won't be able to hold down a job and they'll be a liability to whoever is coerced into employing them for 6 months. It would be far better to put them through some training to improve their appearance, attitude and diction, then maybe they'd stand some chance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Ed, Ed, Ed, what a daft idea. Your party currently has zero credibility, you need to freshen it up a little with new faces and sensible ideas - I would start with an axe and Mr Balls.


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