The Oppostion reminds us of what we’ve lost
As I write this post the Commons is debating an Opposition Day motion:
That this House believes that the Government was wrong to cancel the Future Jobs Fund that would have created 200,000 jobs for young people; further believes that the Government’s economic policies have slowed economic growth, raised youth unemployment and created the highest graduate unemployment for over a decade; further believes that urgent action is now required to stop a generation of young people being lost to worklessness; and calls on the Government to commission an independent assessment of the Future Jobs Fund to report to Parliament before the Government’s Work Programme is implemented and to evaluate whether a guarantee and requirement of work incorporated into the Programme would bring down youth unemployment in the short and longer term and limit steep rises in welfare payments.
As I’ve been lamenting the loss of the FJF ever since the election it should come as no surprise that I agree that scrapping the programme was a terrible mistake. And so, it seems, does Jonathan Portes, the new Director of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research. In an interview with The Times (£) he says that the government is failing to “address the scale” of youth unemployment and that scrapping the FJF – and EMAs – was a mistake.
Something I’ve been meaning to mention for a while now is how pleased I’ve been that the Labour Party hasn’t forgotten the Future Jobs Fund. I did worry that, once it was scrapped, it might be abandoned. Instead, leaders across the Opposition front bench have recognised how popular and successful it was and used the abolition as a weapon to attack the government with. It makes me far more hopeful that the programme may one day be re-instated than I once was.