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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 August 2010

No to advice service cuts

As it becomes clear which groups will be hit hardest by the Con-Dems' cuts, it has been announced that careers services for young people in England face huge cuts in funding. Unison, the local government union, says this will lead to up to 8,000 job losses.

Paul Callanan

YFJ opposes these savage attacks on people's jobs and services. The cut in the grant to local government will lead to one in four staff at services like Connexions being made redundant.

The Connexions service provides help and advice on careers, education and personal issues to young people aged 13-19. Cuts to the service will range from 10% to 15% in different areas.

This cut comes at the same time as the Com-Dem coalition plans huge attacks on education, with many young people not being able to get the college and university places that they want.

We face the highest level of youth unemployment for generations with one in five 18 to 24 year olds now out of work.

The planned cuts will only exacerbate the problem. Many college leavers, who haven't been able to get a place at university this year, will be reliant on these services for careers advice.

In Norfolk, for example, there have already been protests at cuts proposed by the council which will result in 65 job losses in the Norwich Connexions centre. Around 50 Unison members demonstrated outside the county hall on 27 July.

But this seemed to fall on deaf ears as the council's cabinet member for children's services claimed that the cuts were "unavoidable" and that the council would look at "delivering an effective service at reduced costs".

Only a third of schools have qualified careers advisors. This service is also threatened by the new proposals. These cuts demonstrate the government's attitude to young people.

Although there have been serious shortcomings in schemes like Connexions, to have young people with nowhere to go for careers advice is not the solution.

As well as investing in job creation programmes and education, the government should be investing money to improve this service at a time when it could potentially have the most positive impact.

We need to build a mass campaign to save and improve Connexions and other services like it. Big business should be made to pay for its own crisis, not public sector workers or young people struggling for a future.

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In The Socialist 18 August 2010:

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