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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 February 2012

Main parties have no solution to youth unemployment

Matt Whale, YFJ unemployed organiser and Jarrow marcher
For Real Jobs not Workfare - Youth Fight for Jobs protest outside Tesco, photo Suzanne Beishon

For Real Jobs not Workfare - Youth Fight for Jobs protest outside Tesco, photo Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

An audience of 200 gathered in Salford recently to discuss and debate the latest unemployment figures on BBC Radio 5 Live. These figures showed that unemployment rose by 50,000 to 2.67 million in the three months to December.

Tory MP Sam Gyimah was asked whether he thinks that a poverty benefit of 67 a week is enough to live on. After stumbling around trying to squirm out of an answer he admitted it wasn't. And both Lib Dem John Leech and Labour's Emma Reynolds admitted they'd struggle on the Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) too.

All the main parties know that JSA isn't enough to live on. When invited to live on JSA for a week in Salford, Sam refused to take up the challenge and, in a typical mainstream politician way, dodged the question and tried to move on.

One member of the audience talked about how, despite post-graduate qualifications and experience in numerous jobs including teaching, he couldn't find work. He also described a consequence of unemployment when he spoke of a young woman who took her own life after hundreds of rejection letters.

When I got the chance to speak I challenged the Tories to invest in jobs and homes instead of cutting the public sector. Sam responded with the usual 'we've been left this mess by the last government' but when challenged to nationalise the banks and use their profits to invest in public services he had no answer.

No jobs

Sam also had the cheek to claim that there are jobs out there. But a TUC study shows that if you include those wanting full-time work, the unemployment figure is more like six million with at most half a million vacancies. It's not difficult maths - the jobs aren't there!

The 'schemes' the government talked about to get people into work have now been seen for what they are - slave labour of the unemployed. Instead of ministers spouting impressive funding for these schemes, Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) calls for investment into creating real jobs.

Although the Tories were obviously disgraceful, what really stood out to me was the lack of opposition from the Labour Party. In a traditional Labour stronghold, even the slightest opposition, the slightest lean left, would have received huge support.

But there was nothing - proving once again that the Labour Party has long lost its links with the working class and doesn't represent the people who fund it through the trade unions.

We need a new mass workers' party with socialist policies that represents workers and the unemployed. The unions should pull funding from the Labour Party and join other leading trade unionists in supporting the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (see

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In The Socialist 22 February 2012:

Socialist Party youth and students

For real jobs - not workfare

Main parties have no solution to youth unemployment

Defend education - Join the student walkout

Socialist Party feature

What's wrong with capitalism?

International socialist news and analysis

Romania: Protest movement topples the government

Kazakhstan: Defend workers' leaders

Socialist Party workplace news

Pensions: Strike on 28 March

Sparks defeat Balfours - now for total victory over BESNA!

Support the workers at MMP packaging

Tyne and Wear Metro cleaners

Organising against the cuts in Greenwich

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

800 celebrate life of Rob Windsor, a socialist champion of Coventry's people

Save Charing Cross hospital!

Wales: A tale of two conferences

'Capitalism fails the poor' agree Oxford University students!

Portsmouth: Anti-cuts activists present an alternative budget

Gateshead: Children's healthcare under threat

Fight homophobic Tory attacks

North West aggregate meetings

Them & Us

Reviews and readers' comments

Fans not financiers should run football

Should socialists support the proposed HS2 rail link?

Radio review - My generation


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