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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 November 2009

Bristol Youth Fight for Jobs challenges council leader

On Tuesday 17 November a delegation from the Bristol Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) campaign met with the Liberal Democrat leader of Bristol city council, councillor Barbara Janke, to discuss the council's response to the present crisis of youth unemployment.

Andrew Taggart, Bristol YFJ

As with the rest of Britain, unemployment amongst young people has risen dramatically in Bristol over the last year, almost doubling.

Our meeting was an opportunity to probe the councillor on her response to youth unemployment in the city and to propose to her a series of measures to help tackle the crisis.

When questioned over the council's strategy to avoid the prospect of creating a 'lost generation' through chronic unemployment, councillor Janke's response was tepid. An already existing apprenticeship scheme and the startlingly inadequate Future Jobs Fund are the extent of the council's plans.

In addition to the inadequacies of these schemes, which pay low wages and offer no long term job security, they will cater only for around 300 young people, less than 10% of the 18-24 year olds in Bristol who claimed Jobseekers Allowance last month.

In distinction to the lacklustre plans of the council, Bristol YFJ proposed to her that:

Responding to these proposals, councillor Janke rejected any prospect of change to the existing apprentice arrangements, using the worn excuse of 'the recession not allowing it'. On the issue of free transport, she has agreed to further discussions with us.

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