Ed Miliband will today declare a central ambition for the next Labour government is to conquer long term youth unemployment as he sets out a proposal for young people to be guaranteed six months of paid work if they have been out of work for a year.
In a speech to Labour’s youth conference on jobs in Warwick, Mr Miliband will launch the Real Jobs Guarantee for under 25s who are long term unemployed. This will see the bank bonus tax used to pay the wages of young unemployed people taken on by businesses who would be expected to meet the costs of their training.
Ed Miliband will say he plans for the real jobs guarantee to be taken up by private sector business right across Britain, with a presumption towards small firms wherever possible.
Following this week’s figures showing youth unemployment has risen to 1,042,000, Mr Miliband will say that the first line in a Labour Budget next week would be to introduce a Bank Bonus Tax to help get young people back to work.
He will emphasise that government has a responsibility to provide opportunity to them, employers have a responsibility to train them, and young people themselves have a responsibility to make the most of their chances.
His speech will explain why Labour’s offer, which on current figures would help at least 100,000 people, is a significant improvement on the existing Work Programme and would provide better long term prospects than the Future Jobs Fund that the last Labour government used to tackle youth unemployment.
Ed Miliband will draw on his father’s experience arriving in Britain as a Jewish refugee in 1940 who went on to become a leading left-wing academic:
“He succeeded because he was given a chance. And the opportunity he was given was matched by his sense of striving. He worked hard to make something of himself. And that is one of the things I learned from him. Hard work—and its value. It was just a sense that you shouldn’t waste our potential.
“And they also taught me something else born of their experiences. Two people rescued out of the darkness of the Second World War. You had a responsibility to leave the world a better place than you found it. And no challenge or injustice was too big for politics to overcome.
“Compared to the challenges my parents and their generation faced, ours do not seem large. Think of that time. A country shattered by war. Facing the costs of reconstruction. No NHS, no proper welfare state.
“But the strange thing is that there is more pessimism about what politics can achieve today than in that time. More fatalism about what happens in the world. More cynicism about the ability of any politician to make a difference. What is the answer to this? Not to succumb to fatalism. Not to conclude that our problems are too big. Not to lessen our ambition. But in fact to be bolder.”
Ed Miliband will be strongly critical of the Government’s inadequate response to the growing crisis of youth unemployment:
“What have they offered young people? They scrapped the Future Jobs Fund which provided real jobs. They trebled tuition fees. The number of young people looking for work for more than six months has doubled over the last year alone.
“And what is their solution? A Work Programme which does not guarantee work. A jobs programme scheme from this government which does not offer jobs.
“Work experience of course has a role to play in helping people into work. But work experience is not the same as a real job. It cannot be the summit of our ambitions. There is only one solution to a jobs crisis: jobs."
Ed Miliband will describe Labour’s Real Jobs Guarantee as a down-payment towards his goal of conquering long term youth unemployment:
“For Labour, it is simply unacceptable to have so many talented young people out of work for an entire year, with their hopes and dreams evaporating. And that’s why my ambition is this: to conquer long term youth unemployment.
“The first line of a Labour Budget would be a tax on bank bonuses to get jobs for our young people. To business we say, we’ll pay the wages, if you provide the training. To young people: if you’re out of work for a year we’ll guarantee you the opportunity to work.
“Responsibility on the part of government to give every young person a chance. Responsibility on the part of employers to make that chance real. And responsibility on the part of young people to take that chance. Saying ‘no’ is not an option.
“And when people ask what’s the difference between ourselves and this government, let’s tell them:under Labour, a job is guaranteed, at least at the minimum wage with real training and real prospects.
“Real jobs, real wages, a real chance for our young people: a Real Jobs Guarantee.”
Ed Miliband will say this fully-funded policy is one of the ways Labour will deliver fairness in an era when there is less money to spend:
“We are showing the difference in our priorities, even in tough times. Labour priorities versus Tory priorities. We are on the side of those who work hard, strive, play by the rules, and we understand the need for government to be on their side.
"The Tories want to cut taxes for people with jobs earning over £150,000 a year. We want to stand up for our young people who just need a job.”