Tag Archives: Leeds

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



Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Is it time for Leeds to have its own elected mayor?

The return of Jimmy Savile

Local legend, Jimmy Savile will be hugely missed. Image by dullhunk via Flickr

It’s been a busy week for political news this week for Leeds but the papers started the week with the obituaries to Jimmy Savile. His philanthropy and eccentricity will be hugely missed.

In the national news this week was the surprising news that Leeds could be one of the 12 cities who could have their very own Boris Johnson.

A new consultation put forward by the coalition government could bring democratic change to Leeds with our very own elected city mayor. The report, titled ‘What can a mayor do for your city?’ said:

“The Government is committed to creating directly elected mayors in the 12 largest English cities, subject to confirmatory referendums and full scrutiny by elected councillors. This consultation paper seeks your views on our proposed approach for giving powers to any mayors elected in the 12 cities following the referendums to be held in May 2012.”

While we’re all for change that enhances democracy at knowyourleeds, we’re unsure who we’d put up for it.

And would this mean the end of the mainly ceremonial Lord Mayor? Do you even care? Consultation ends January 2nd. Please let us know your thoughts.

One story the potential mayor would have to deal with immediately is the future of Kirkgate Market. The council has approved an £400,000 fund for Kirkgate Market reports the BBC. The money will be used for maintenance and repairs. Knowyourleeds will keep an eye on developments.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Housing scheme shines light on PFIs.

House

Image by phill.d via Flickr

Leeds’ addiction to Private Finance Initiative‘s are a major topic we’ll be covering on knowyourleeds but for the meantime here’s a flavour of what to expect.

If you subscribe to Leeds Council‘s news RSS feed, by you’ll have noticed the several updates on the new Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects appearing in your reader this week. To save you the trouble of Council PR paff, the good news is that the multi-million pound housing schemes for Holbeck, Beeston and Little London have been given the go-ahead by the Government.

Here’s a summary of the latest developments.

  • The consortium, Sustainable Communities for Leeds (sc4L) bid to on this major housing regeneration project has been approved.
  • The Council says it will now work with sc4L to finalise proposal details.
  • Up to 388 new council homes will be built, with 1200 existing council properties being refurbished.
  • A three-year construction phase is due to start around spring next year.
  • The contract also includes ‘some environmental improvements’ provisions. Firms under the umbrella Keepmoat Limited have been contracted to provide this.
  • They will also be responsible for maintenance services throughout the 20 year contract period.

While this is undoubtedly good news for the areas involved, the Leeds Citizen blog has the news which wasn’t updated on the news feed. Delays and inflation have led to a £12m increase in costs before the 20-year contract has even been signed. It’s yet to be confirmed whether this is for the duration of the contract or for the building phase.

“The council will need to meet additional costs in the contract that amount to about £1million a month,” Cllr Peter Gruen said a statement given to the Leeds citizen.

In other PFI news, which Cllr Gruen (executive member for housing) may want to note, the BBC reports that lighting costs have soared under a 25-year Private Finance Initiative contract from 2006.

Lamppost
Image by George M. Groutas via Flickr

 

  • A consortium provided £100m to replace most of Leeds’s street lamps.
  • When the contract was signed, Leeds’ lighting system cost £5.8m per year to run, it now

    costs £14.4m.

  • The majority of the rise in costs is, according to the BBC, repayment of the overall cost of 80,000 lights which have been since replaced.

Because PFI deals can be bracketed under ‘commercial confidentially’ agreements, little is now about the financial impacts or specific arrangements of the deals.

As always, if anyone has any information to share, then please leave a comment or email: knowyourleeds@gmail.com

Tagged , , , , , ,
Advertisements