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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 June 2010

Future of cuts a nightmare for youth

From school direct to the dole, cartoon by Alan Hardman

From school direct to the dole, cartoon by Alan Hardman   (Click to enlarge)

In a recent speech Iain Duncan Smith, the new employment minister, talked about how "aspiration is in danger of becoming the preserve of the wealthy."

Meanwhile, in north east London, near his constituency, a new dole office has been opened just across the road from a further education college which faces almost 2 million in cuts.

This epitomises the options available to millions of young people. University and college fees are likely to rise rapidly.

The number of university places won't meet demand, leaving thousands denied third level education. Recruitment freezes in both the public and private sector mean there are few options for the one million young unemployed. Benefits are likely to be cut, with increasing compulsion to accept low-paid, low-skilled jobs.

The Youth Fight for Jobs campaign has pledged to continue to organise for a mass fight back, for a programme of job creation to end unemployment, for free education to allow people to develop to the best of their abilities and for a living wage that will allow those in work to live a decent life.

Below, three unemployed young people give their responses to the government's proposals:

Paul, South London

"These days every time I hear a politician talk about the public sector it fills me with dread. It was bad enough under the Labour government when they planned to make people work on low wages for a few months, which would have meant working for just over the amount you get on the dole.

But Iain Duncan Smith's proposals to force people to work for the dole are just a vindictive move aimed at punishing the unemployed for a crisis we didn't cause.

It's sickening to listen to politicians line up to defend millionaire ex-treasury minister David Laws who fiddled thousands of pounds of tax payers' money while they plan to attack the most vulnerable people in society.

If someone on benefits had lied to cover up something about their private life then they'd be fined and thrown off benefits. As it is, the government wants to punish people for the crime of not being able to find work."

Joe, east London

"I, like 2.5 million others, am unemployed. Over the past few years the Jobcentre has seen an influx of a wide range of people. The task of Jobcentre employees has been to find appropriate employment for these people, especially for those aged 16-25.

However, there has been a noticeable change in the attitudes of Jobcentre advisers since the general election. The fact is they are all very aware of the new difficulties young job seekers, such as myself, w ill now face.

Last week I was told in no uncertain terms by a Jobcentre adviser that: "We must find you a job before the cuts".

They, like many, realise that while New Labour played judge and jury sentencing a generation to the dole queue, it's the slashing Con-Lib government that will be the executioners, punishing us for a situation not of our making."

Lee, Brighton

"The scrapping of Labour's 'Future Jobs Fund', a scheme that forced young people to take work at the lowest pay with no guarantee of a permanent job, is welcome, but this coalition has nothing to replace it with.

Instead, their answer to unemployment is to give people more "incentives to take work". Seeing as there is no work, this amounts to plans to force people off benefits at all costs.

Part of the solution is investment into public services to create socially useful jobs. Only by students, claimants and workers uniting to fight back can we beat these cuts."

Lobby Iain Duncan Smith at his surgery

Friday 18 June

Meet at Chingford station at 3pm

Call Suzanne on 07716610893 for details.

No cuts in jobs and benefits

No to mass youth unemployment

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In The Socialist 9 June 2010:

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