DAVID Cameron yesterday pledged that a future Tory government would ‘effectively abolish’ youth unemployment by simply forcing every young person to do ‘community work’ for which they would be paid a youth allowance.
In his speech – which not only defended the Tory-led coalition’s savage attack on the unemployed and low paid through the introduction of ‘universal credit’ but continued to pledge that this was only the start – Cameron outlined his plans for youth.
Any young person aged between 18 and 21 who is not in some training scheme will no longer be on a jobseekers allowance and will be forced to spend at least 30 hours a week doing community work plus a further 10 hours a week looking for a job.
This goes beyond the Tories’ previous onslaught against youth which Cameron announced last September, a plan to end housing benefit for 18 to 21 year olds and taking away their entitlement to jobseekers allowance after six months.
Now they will be barred from unemployment benefits from day one after they leave school.
What is this ‘community work’ that unemployed youth will be forced to do in exchange for a meagre £57.35 youth allowance?
They will be used to cover work such as preparing meals for the elderly, working as gardeners in parks, working flat out for charities, cleaning war memorials even restoring historical sites – in short they will be expected to do all the jobs previously carried out by full-time workers mainly local government employees working for trade union rates of pay.
According to Cameron driving youth off benefits is not just about saving money but ‘to help young people make something of their lives’.
What Cameron wants has nothing to do with youth making something of their lives – they have no life to live under this bankrupt capitalist system that is incapable of providing them with full-time work paying a living wage – it has everything to do with trying to discipline youth into accepting a life as part of a scab army to break the public sector trade unions.
This is in line with the pledge by Osborne to ‘shrink’ all state spending down to levels last seen in the 1930s.
Such extensive cuts will destroy whatever public jobs still exist after five years of relentless spending cuts inflicted on public services.
Unemployed youth, working for a pittance, will be expected to take up some of these jobs, while at the same time being used as a reserve army to depress the wages of anyone in full-time work.
The scope of the cuts being prepared by Cameron and Osborne should they form the next government necessitates that even a six month grace period on jobseekers allowance is too much.
Youth are to be treated to the whip of discipline from the day they leave school courtesy of the Tories who have only one aim – to inflict the full burden of the capitalist crisis on the backs of the working class and young people.
However, the Labour leadership are not to be outdone by the Tories in their targeting of youth – Miliband and Balls are right behind ending jobseekers allowance for those who are not on one of their cheap labour ‘training schemes’.
What unites both Tories and Labour is the necessity of bankrupt British capitalism to discipline the most revolutionary section of the working class – the youth.
But young people are not so easy to discipline. Already under the draconian cuts and attacks on their right to benefit over 100,000 young people are estimated to have simply dropped off the radar, refusing to be exploited as a source of cheap labour working for nothing in order to keep the profits rolling in for employers and bankers.
Young people have no future under this system that cannot provide jobs for an entire generation.
Their future lies in the struggle to build a revolutionary leadership in the working class that will put an end to bankrupt capitalism and advance to a socialist society that will guarantee a life for every worker and young person.
Only the Young Socialists and WRP are building this leadership.