THE Tory-LibDem Coalition stepped up its mass youth slave labour drive yesterday, with Deputy Prime Minister Clegg launching his payment-by-results ‘Neets’ campaign.
‘Neets’ is the government’s derogatory and disrespectful term for the more than one million unemployed youth that they have deprived of employment, education or training.
Clegg urged businesses and charities to bid for contracts of up to £2,200 per 16 to 17-year-old, without any GCSEs at C grade or above. The cash will be handed over only after the ‘Neet’ has spent 12 months doing unpaid ‘work, education or training’.
Describing rising youth unemployment as a ‘ticking timebomb’, Clegg claimed the £126 million scheme will help youngsters ‘into the world of work’.
He said the organisations that win these contracts will have ‘a free hand to decide their approach’ and payment will be staggered, so the full amount will only be paid if the youth remains in the position for a year.
nut General Secretary Christine Blower said: ‘Tackling the problem of youth unemployment is essential but will not be solved by simply forcing young people into unpaid work placements.’
Adrian Prandle of the ATL teachers’ union said: ‘We have deep misgivings that getting charities and businesses to provide support for unemployed youngsters outside the education system will undermine the likelihood of success.’
He condemned the government for ‘dismantling the careers and advice service and abolishing the Education Maintenance Allowance’.
Clegg’s scheme mirrors the free labour ‘work experience’ scheme which involves unpaid ‘work placements’ in stores such as Tesco for 18 to 24-year-olds and removes people’s benefits if they refuse or leave before completion.
John Hannett, USDAW General Secretary said: ‘The unemployment crisis is never going to be solved by forcing people to work for nothing.’
Meanwhile, last Friday police launched a fraud inquiry into Cameron’s ‘back to work tsar’, Emma Harrison, whose firm A4e is accused of receiving fees from the taxpayer after finding people jobs lasting just 24 hours.
Harrison, who Cameron has hailed as an ‘inspiration’ to his employment campaign, awarded herself an £8.6 million dividend earlier this month, from the company which makes all its UK income from state contracts.
Young Socialists National Secretary Joshua Ogunlai said: ‘Youth are not slaves and are not prepared to be treated as such. The trade unions must organise and act to bring an end to this coalition through a general strike and bring in a workers government which will provide jobs for all.