The independent London newspaper

Young people need a good future to look forward to

11 April, 2019

• SEVENTY years of unemployment, bad employment, zero-hours contracts or part-time work is what so many of those responsible for your front page will see as lying ahead for them, (We know what will happen next, April 4). Is it surprising that they turn to alternatives?

But things are a lot worse than that. In his book about Donald Trump, Fear: Trump in the White House, Bob Woodward quotes Gary Cohn, president of Goldman Sachs, as saying to him: “If you’re here for eight years, you’re going to deal with the automation of the automobile and truck. About 25 per cent of the population makes a living driving something. Think about that”.

The Office for National Statistics has an entire page discussing jobs that will end and the percentage likelihood of any given job sinking. We have to start thinking in terms of creating jobs which are intended not to generate wealth but to generate improvements for society.

This could involve expanding craft-based activities, leading conducted tours, events for older and also younger people, teaching evening classes, themed trips abroad, learning a musical instrument – a million opportunities which create benefit but not necessarily wealth.

I put these ideas to Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi who was speaking on TV on this matter. He replied with this: “Job-creation by the state, and a state allocation of resources to and control of industry, is called communism and patently does not work.

“We can either live in a society where private individuals and industrialists make decisions on what to produce and consume, or in a society where the state decides that for people. One is a free society, the other a controlled society. One society engenders economic growth, the other stifles any incentive to innovate or grow because individuals are not free to make their own choices”.

My experience of the Department of Trade and Industry (and successors) is that they are brain dead. Mr Zahawi, although in my view a good person, seems only a little further up the road of wisdom. If a project is to happen, at least at a demonstrator project level, it needs to be launched locally.

Your report (‘Government are still shirking responsibility for the stabbings’, April 4) suggests that the “Band of Brothers” and others might be thinking along these lines. They should be funded.

Young people need a good future to look forward to if they are to be drawn away from crime which is both very expensive and very harmful. Gary Cohn is right; there is a very serious problem ahead.



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