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25 June 2014

Miliband attacks young unemployed

Blame the profit system not its victims!

Laurence Maples

In the same week that a new TUC report showed the dismal job prospects for young people in Con-Dem Britain, due to the miserable failure of British capitalism to invest, Labour leader Ed Miliband has launched yet another attack on us.

In a move that shows Labour's determination to demonise the unemployed even more viciously than the Tories, he has outlined plans to strip Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) from 18-21 year-olds who lack qualifications. This would be replaced by a lower 'youth allowance', conditional on completing training and means tested against parental income.

This builds on the government's attempts to destroy the welfare state and force workers to rely on their families, explicitly recognising that the welfare system will not meet everyone's needs.

Of course, under the pressure of compulsion, young people won't be able to pick the most suitable training courses, but Labour only cares about serving the interests of big business.

The implicit message is that young people are lazy and will look for an easy life on benefits, but at 57 a week JSA is barely enough to survive on. Hardly a life of excess, unlike the six Labour MPs sent to prison for stealing tens of thousands in expenses!

In reality there are not enough jobs to go round, with millions more jobseekers than vacancies. To change this situation, we need a massive programme of investment in public services to build houses, schools and hospitals

Instead, the government is cutting public spending and sacking hundreds of thousands of public sector workers - and Labour is doing its dirty work where it controls local authorities.

As a young unemployed person, I know what it's like to send off endless job applications with no response, while the threat of benefit sanctions constantly hangs over you.

To see wealthy, establishment politicians lecturing us just adds insult to injury. We weren't the ones who let the banks trash the world economy then bailed them out scot-free, or the ones who helped construction companies blacklist workers. That was the fat cat politicians - too busy lining their own pockets to stop their own system collapsing on itself!

If Ed Miliband thinks we're lazy, he should come and debate with young, socialist activists and see the energy that young people have to fight back.

All this demonstrates that the Labour Party does not represent working class people any longer and we need a new party. Having just fought the biggest left of Labour electoral challenge in a lifetime, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition are fighting for a decent future for young people.

We demand: