Category Archives: Youth Unemployment

Council warned over casino plans.

Rank's Grosvenor division already has 35 casinos but hopes to extend this by adding a large casino in Leeds aswell as the 24 outlets owned by debt-laden rival Gala Coral. Photo:©knowyourleeds

As expectation grows that Leeds will be the only major city to grant a large casino licence after a series of council meetings, Citizen’s Advice Bureau and the NHS has warned the council about putting economical gain above resident’s welfare.

Leeds City Council said casinos will bring a “major boost to the leisure, visitor and night-time economies” after the licensing policy was passed through the Executive Board and Scrutiny process.

Large casinos are defined as having a minimum area of 1,000 square meters and up to 150 slot machines with a maximum jackpot of £4,000.

CAB’s response to the licensing consultation said “problem gambling” is highest where casinos are generally built in areas of high deprivation and unemployed with severe money problems.

They highlighted that 16-24 year-olds and people with serious health problems are most at risk. Referring to this government report in 2010, they said: “0.9% of the population in Britain can be defined as problem gamblers, suggesting that in Leeds there may be around 7,000 people who are already problem gamblers.

“If the development of a large casino in Leeds results in an increase in problem gambling of only 0.1% that would mean an additional 800 people becoming problem gamblers with the likely corresponding money problems described above.”

A spokesman for LCC working on the project said in a “post recession environment” casinos could prove a key catalyst in stimulating economic growth.

“Early economic impact assessments estimated that a large casino in Leeds could generate up to 620 new jobs and potential capital expenditure of £25million,” said the spokesperson in a written response to questions knowyourleeds had to send in writing.

“We don’t wish to speculate as to how many applications it may receive, other than to state that, as Leeds is the only core city with powers to grant a licence, it’s anticipating interest from the casino industry.”

Rank Group PLC unsuccessfully challenged the councils right not to award a casino licence if they receive more than more than one application which falls short of their set criteria. Rank – who confirmed today that they’re in talks about taking over Gala Coral –  run 37 casinos across the UK (included 2 casinos in Belgium), generating £238.6m in revenue, under the Grosvenor brand.

Nationwide ‘large casinos’ was given the go-ahead in 2007 in controversial decision by the then Labour government.

The council receives £15,000 a year in fees from the five casino licences in operation across the city. Large licences are worth £10,000 a year for each awarded.

NHS Leeds said the policy doesn’t acknowledge potential negative impacts which a large casino could have. In their response to the consultation, they said:

“People living in areas of deprivation are disproportionately affected by higher levels of income deprivation, employment deprivation, higher rates of ill-health and disability, lower rates of education, skills and training, lack of social housing, high levels of crime and poor living environments.

“Individuals living in areas of deprivation are at much greater risk of negative impacts associated with gambling. Low income is one of the most consistent factors associated with problem gambling worldwide.”

When asked how much the council has spent on the application process, they were unable to provide figures due to “commercially sensitivity”.

“Moneys spent as part of  the process are expected to be significantly outweighed by the financial contributions which may be received,” LCC said.

You can see the responses in the post-consultation report below.

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Leeds’ Youth Debt

Unemployment rates at a 17 high while youth unemployment is at the highest since records began. Photo:©knowyourleeds

There was a sobering moment last week for us all. Government figures revealed that over a million young people are out of work, education or training.

Speaking in Leeds last week, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced that £1 billion of taxpayers’ money will be given to employers in a bid to drive down the spiraling jobless numbers among the young.

The government said employers will be given £2,275 for each worker they take on in the next three years, meaning they’ll effectively be subsidising work and training placement schemes.

With the country in the middle of a what could turn out to be a decade long slump, employers can afford to be picky and choose from those with the most experience.

It’s not just ‘neets’ (not in education, employment, or training) to use the political parlance, who find themselves in an ever-increasing competitive job market. They also have to compete with the more experience job seekers as people from all sectors across country are vying for scarce jobs with companies continuing to make redundancies and tighten their belts.

Leeds West MP and shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Rachel Reeves, told knowyourleeds that the scale of the problem isn’t as simple as giving people jobs.

“I think that the outlook is probably the toughest outlook that young people are faced with,” she said.

“Whether they’re leaving school, college or university in the last few years, 22% of young people are out of work. In the constituency that I represent, Leeds West, the numbers are much higher than that. Long term youth unemployment has gone up by around 80% since the start of the year. That’s the scale of the problem.”

In Leeds city center, jobseekers knowyourleeds spoke to said the main problem was that employers aren’t hiring them because they lack one vital attribute on their CV: experience.

You can here what jobseekers had to say in the Audioboo below.

Employers aren’t hiring because they want people who have worked before. Businesses aren’t to blame. But is the government right and are these proposal right for Leeds’ young people?

As an economist before she became Leeds’ only female MP in last years election, Rachel Reeves said that people with high qualifications are taking jobs that would’ve traditionally have gone to people fresh out of school.

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves studied at the London School of Economics. Photo: ©rachelreeves.net

A mixture of graduates, school and college leavers in the job market with their more experienced elders has created a “crazy” situation she said.

“Everyone is applying for the same jobs, irrespective of their qualifications,” she said.

“This year was the best for GCSE and ‘A’ Level results. Yet youth unemployment has not been higher for 20 years.”

Rachel Reeves unsurprisingly believes the priority should be to make sure that young people leaving school and college get an opportunity to contribute and put something back in the economy.

“It just seems a huge waste, a criminal waste really, of the talents and skills of young people who we’re not harnessing and that we’re letting them languish on benefits. They could be contributing, paying taxes and making a difference, especially at the start of their working lives when it so important to get into the habit and learn those skills of work.”

 

What do you think? Are businesses to blame? Should the government be doing more for entrepreneurs?

Have your say in the comments section or as usual tweet @knowyourleeds



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Bramley Baths

Bramley Baths

The campaign to save Bramley Baths from closure hasn’t stopped going and has been in the news again this week.

Knowyourleeds managed to nab an exclusive interview with Leeds West MP, Rachel Reeves. She spoke at length about her hopes for the baths and how her constituents planned to keep it afloat despite crippling council budget cuts across Leeds.

Check on this site later this week for a report on what she had to say about Bramley Baths.

We’ll also have a sobering report about Leeds’ youth unemployment as figures for those out of work nationwide soared this week.

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