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"There is no excuse for a young, able-bodied person to be outside the labour force."

While Chris Grayling is right to look at ways to end youth unemployment which has risen by 20% under Labour, it has to be understood that punitive measures and training will not solve the underlying causes of unemployment. Sadly it is not simply a case of young people being out of work because they don't look for work. JSA Unemployment is forcast to rise to 1.8 million this year and to 2.3 million by the end of 2009. So to say that young people have 'no excuse' for being unemployed is as ridiculous as Labour's fantastic claim that we have 'full employment'.

I am interested in seeing the small print in Mr Graylings proposals but an air of cautious realism is called for here. Any initiative that comes forward is not going to reduce unemployment in the immediate future, all such initiatives can do is provide training and a skills upgrade. The labour market is contracting and jobs are not going to be available until there is a marked upturn in the economy. Politicians should not try to hoodwink the public into believing that there is going to be a quick-fix cure to youth unemployment. Nontheless efforts to train the young in work skills are a positive step.

Good stuff, wonder if McLabour will try and nick this Policy?.

Why dont Conservative MP's, when ridiculously accused of having no Policies by an increasing desperate McLabour regime and supporters say well we cant announce them all at once.....cos McLabour will only steal them!.

"There is no excuse for a young, able-bodied person to be outside the labour force."

Amazingly, myself and Tony are in agreement on that statement. Whilst it is important that we encourage young people to find work, we have to understand that work is hard to come by.


Very sensible. All UK residents should be able to speak English. Not just for economic reasons but to achieve the more important goal of sociocultural integration.

I agree with the general consensus that all UK residents should be able to speak English - but even more, they should have a basic UNDERSTANDING of our language which I feel is something lacking at times. When I go into a certain well-known coffee shop I do like to be able to get my tall skinny cappuccino without too many misunderstandings, but so often the assistant doesn't understand what I am trying to say even when I speak slowly and clearly! I have to say that I have never had any language problems when I have ordered a coffee in Paris - even though I am not a native French speaker!

This is the kind of thing that is needed, but only for the short term - until the cultural battle is won.

"There is no excuse for a young, able-bodied person to be outside the labour force."

That's quite a naive view to be honest. There are plenty of people out there looking for a job, who don't have the connections or qualifications that our elected representatives did.

Part of the massive rise in youth unemployment is down to the increase in people going to University. There aren't enough jobs for graduates - and then nobody else will employ you because they (rightly) assume that you will be off as soon as the chance comes along.

As a result, many graduates spend years only working at Christmas time and generally sitting about, applying for positions and wondering why the hell they bothered.

Here in Lambeth we have a large community of Portuguese speakers permanently settled in a small area (3 wards). Their 'community reps' demand translations for them even though some (as they told me) have lived here 15 years and still speak no English. Lambeth Police spend over £1million per year on interpreter and translation services, of which over £200,000 per year is on Portuguese - the cost of at least 4 fully trained police officers. So if these permanent residents spoke English our local Neighbourhood Police Teams could have an extra police officer each - and a spare.
These costs are for pre-criminal charge contacts, after a person is charged the CPS pays from their budget. There is no Human Rights requirement to provide interpreter services pre-charge, and of course none for translations. These costs also exclude telephone costs.
When I raised this at a police panel, another member who works for NHS laughed and said 'that's nothing compared with what the Lambeth PCT and St Thomas' Hospital Trust pays'.
As for employment opportunities - ample, as our Polish builders and Colombian (now British) window cleaner are happy to point out. It's just that many of our local youth are unemployable - but I could go on for ever on that.....

There is every excuse for a young able bodied person to be outside the labour force; no-one can force someone to work against their will. What there is no excuse for is the state having to fund it. By all means choose not to work, but don't expect to be able to live at the taxpayer's expense for more than a few months.

Perhaps he needs to look at the wider picture of ethnic minorities who do not and flatly refuse to learn English.
This is a fall out from the failed experiment in Multiculturism. Allowing separate development, apartheid, has meant that many communities have created their own ghettoes, led separate lives and refused to integarte within British society. This has meant that communities fail to learn English, demand translation services, as a matter of right, placing severe strains on budgets whilst not contributing to the financial pot.
We do not have to provide transaltors and translation services, many EU nations do not and expect visitors and alien residents to learn the local lingo, or pay for their own translation service.
It would make this country a lot more cohesive if we refused all this tomfoolery with translations and insisted on integration.

'Sarf Lunnon' your comment at 11.37 was interesting - I wanted more!

We are back to the problem that should have been addressed years and years ago, probably in the time of the LAST Labour government, and that is that there should have been and should be, NOW, compulsory English language lessons for all immigrants, when they first settle here. However, at the moment there should be a requirement for immigrants who have lived here for some time, but have not, for some reason or another learned to speak English, to attend English classes until they become proficient in the language; this should be compulsory as well.

An important point! The subject of English classes has been bandied about over the last few months, the problem is that IF some Labour .... decides this might be a vote winning idea, they will hand it over to one of their 'friendly agencies', who will then see the whole idea as a money-making package, which will defeat the process, because many people will be unable to afford the cost of the classes!!

Tony Makara. Sometimes I get bored of his absolute drivel. As a young person I know large numbers of people my age who don't work, and no more than 10% of those are actually trying to get a job. The rest simply don't want to work.

Grayling's plans might not be perfect, but I'd sooner have him in the job than Makara.

Tony at least has the decency to use his real name, "North East Tory". I think if you're going to write unkind things about individuals you should use your own name. Else a reader might think you're just being rude for the sake of it, no?

Tottenham, my constituency, has a large non-white immigrant population. The vast majority of such people want to learn English and work - unlike some of the natives. Sadly, the local Labour-run council is reducing/axing funding for ESOL courses, making such aspirations even harder. This is something the new Mayor should rectify.

Oh dear, looks like I just arrived in time to be insulted by North East Tory. Mr North East Tory somehow has worked out empirically that 90% of the young people that he knows don't want to work. Presumably he went around with clipboard in hand and carried out a survey.

He also says that he's glad Chris Grayling is shadow secretary for work and pensions and not me, well I agree with him, Chris Grayling is a very able politician and I support him. However for the record if I was in that position I would introduce mandatory waged training-based public works programmes so that nobody would be on the dole. Mr North East Tory's 90% wouldn't be able to refuse work.

Because I take a realistic view of the unemployment situation people shouldn't think that I want to encourage welfare dependency or freeloading. I would use the manpower available to serve the interests of the state and urban regeneration. Still, I'm not shadow secretary for DWP, so instead I'll support Chris Grayling by offering ideas on the matter of welfare dependency and everyone else should try to do the same.

I think 'boot camp' is an unfortunate phrase to describe what is essentially intensive job skills training. Calling it the latter is much more positive in my view.

A surprising amount of support on 'The Scotsman' comments, particularly considering that it is an English/Conservative proposal.

At the other extreme there is:
"Boot camp = work camp = arbeit macht frei."

I don't think he's too keen on it!

Whoever thought of the term 'boot camp' wants kicking. It gives people a ready made excuse to oppose the proposals as being an assault on liberty and punishing the unemployed for being unemployed.

Let's look at the small print and see what exactly the proposals are. If they lead to proper training then great, if they are just finding something for the young jobless to do in order to get them off the streets then it will be time to go back to the drawing board.

The last thing we want to see is people stocking shelves in supermarkets or serving in a charity shop as they do under labour's failed New Deal. Training is needed to empower youngsters and give them a real chance of finding work. Unskilled means unemployed.

All Conservatives would be well advised to read Denis MacShane MPs revelatory article in todays Telegraph, in which he calls upon Brown to cut both taxes and public spending, and repudiate much of the worthless bureaucracy such as the New Deal which Brown has spent 11 years building.

MacShane is an oily Labour weathervane in much the same mould as Jack Straw, but as an insight into how desperate Labour now are to camp on our 'share the proceeds of growth' terrain, this provides an invaluable insight.

"worthless bureaucracy such as the New Deal"

London Tory, the New Deal has cost 3.4 Billion and youth unemployment is up by 20%. By any definition that is a shockingly poor return for tax payers money. Gordon Brown needs to ditch the New Deal and replace it with straight job-matching which would be cheaper, faster and would bring an end to those gravy train 'job-providors' who are currently milking the New Deal system.

Perhaps Mr.Grayling should also accept the fact that a number of journalists in the UK are from the ethnic minorities.

How can you expect People from the ethnic minorities to learn English when more than half the Country (the so called Great Britain) cannot read or write their own language.

It is typical of the Conservatives to blame everything on the Ethnic minorities.

Can some one tell me the difference between the BNP and some of the Tories these days?

What was that last post about?

Who is blaming the ethnic minorities?? Perhaps that comment above says more about Patrick Ratnaraja, than the content of his comment.

In stating that ethnic minorities need to learn English in order to participate more fully in English life, one is not blaming the minority, one is blaming successive governments who have been lazy, or too disinterested to tackle a situation that is addressed by every other country 'at source'.

Mr. Ratnaraja's comment's about the inability of some English people to speak their own language, would I am sure, produce a fair amount of agreement from many people, it is also referred to quite frequently in the press!

I wouldn't know about Mr. Ratnaraja's political preference, but presumably it is not Labour as he is quite a regular contributor here (not that that precludes him from being a Labour supporter of course!), however it has to be said that the responsibility for the dumbing down of areas of society, and the various failures in areas of education, can very definitely be laid at Labours door - for the last eleven years!

There is a truism that says that if you are 'looking for' racism, classism, anti-old ageism, then you WILL find it. I am a boring middle class person, with a middle class accent and a low voice, but periodically I get snide people 'copying' my way of speaking, you might not put it on the same level as racism, but it can also hurt - if you let it (or make you angry), but it is only yourself that is affected, because the morons have already moved on - probably to their next target!!!

Isn't this typical of the NASTY PARTY to crack-down on native Britons because they haven't managed to find employment and effectively treating them as criminal lepers whilst falling over backwards helping immigrants whom most of the British people don't want here? Your party is SICK AND EVIL. I will tell you a simple reason why many young Britons are unemployed and fall into a cycle of benefit dependency and that is because Britain hasn't had an effective state education system for many years under both Labour and Tory governments. Why, for instance, did your party close down more grammar schools than Labour? Mr Cameron and his public schoolboy posse have NO IDEA how ordinary people live and this shows it.

This plan also runs a severe risk of breaking-apart our country (the United Kingdom) by giving Alex Salmond a fantastic way of saying to Scots let us become independent as these Tories closed down our industries in the 1980's and they haven't learnt anything since.

When is the CONServative Party going to crack down properly on illegal immigration? Oh, I forgot, the last time you were in government you let in one million of them and then you wonder why some places in Britain are voting for the BNP - a party that won't just say they will crack down on these REAL CRIMINALS but actually DO IT.

"I want to see them to get up and get out of their homes every day either to take part in personal development activities, work experience or community work."

This is going to prove a very expensive way of giving people on benefits something to do. Each person involved will have to claim bus fare etc and over the course of a week this is going to add an extra 20% onto the weekly benefit outlay for that particular claimant. Plus there are the costs of administering these drop-in centres. We have had enough of this waste with the New Deal.

Chris Grayling has to be open and admit that he won't be able to fit the 1.65 million JSA claimants into 667,000 vacancies, it cannot be done and means effectively that there will be close on a million people on JSA benefit whatever happens. Giving a million people something to do every day is going to prove very expensive and defeat the purpose of the objective.

Please think about the cost of this?

Also Chris Grayling's reported plans to pay employers the cost of two years benefits if they take someone off the dole queue is a bizarre waste of money. Far better if government allows individual tax breaks for employers who take a set number off the dole queue.

The Conservative party needs to have in place a strategy for job-creation if it wants to reduce JSA unemployment. Drop-in centres won't take a single person off benefit and even the most ambitious training regime will prove fruitless if there are not jobs in place. Job-creation is the key.


It is sad that you decided to say things about me personally than my comments.

Yes I am a Conservative (Probably more Conservative than you all put together).

I spend a lot of my time canvassing for the Conservative party among the so called BEM or BME communities.

Targeting BEM communities with such comments made by Mr.Grayling does not help. The perception is that we are a racist party. I am trying to change that.

There are a number of Conservatives who don't know other communities.The BNP is anti immigrants and some Conservatives are anti immigrants too. We have to accept this.

I am an immigrant (An Asylum seeker- The Tories hate this term). I was not educated in English. If you would like to email me I can write about the difficulties I have faced in this Country and also with some party members.It took two years for me to join the party back in 1995.Please let us move on.

"Mr Grayling will also target the high proportion of UK ethnic minorities who are out of work. "Speaking English," reports The Telegraph"

Can we do a survey to see how many People from the Ethnic minorities are out of work? When responsible People like Mr.Grayling use this type of language, it becomes more difficult for People like my self to work in some target seats where there are a number of votes from the BEM communities.

Majority of the young People from the BEM Communities who are out of work were born and educated in Britain. Is He trying to say that these People cannot speak English.

And also for your information Majority of People from the BEM communities entered Britain during the successive Conservative Governments and not Labour.

Only under the Current Labour Government a number of immigrants mostly Europeans have entered this Country.

It does not matter what our Political preference is we have to accept facts.

Tony Makara, you are one sensible Tory. I thought these people didn't exist. When is the Conservative Party going to realise that not all those on JSA are workshy layabouts? Many of them are badly-educated or have little work experience. Any worthwhile employment scheme MUST give these people real work experience so that employers can't use that as an excuse not to employ them and/or training. Be fair to the unemployed and you will find that the vast majority of them will respond positively. Continue to castigate all of them as 'workshy' and you will have a very unhappy society and may even see a rise in crime something I hope all of us would wish to avoid.

Labour's New Deal has been a big failure. This makes it all the more important that the Conservative Party comes-up with a scheme that DOESN'T brand all unemployed people as workshy losers and treats them with dignity and respect.

It does not matter what our Political preference is we have to accept facts.

Very, very well said, Patrick. And one of the facts we have to accept is what Chris Grayling actually said:

"We will also target support at those who are struggling in the job market because of a lack of language skills. The contracting structure we establish for the back to work providers will reflect the need for basic language training as an essential part of getting those people into work.

So we expect to see the back to work centres offering English language coaching to particular groups of job seekers, either in their own right or in partnership with local colleges.

The Government's own research has shown that the employment rate for some ethnic minorities is far below the national average, citing language barriers as one of the factors. It's time serious steps were taken to address that problem.

Chris Grayling did not say in this speech (or anywhere else, to my knowledge) that immigrants will lose benefit for not speaking English. He simply made the very sensible point that, to help these claimants get work, the work centres should be required to offer them English lessons. I cannot see anything controversial in this and I do not know why The Telegraph chose to report it the way they did -- it seems quite mischievous.

Umm, so is Grayling going to actually, you know, STOP the massive immigration?

Or are we just going to pretend that white elephant isn't in the room?

1.65 million JSA claimants into 667,000 vacancies
The claimant count for JSA is going up, but it is only 806,300 - the figure you are quoting is the ILO Unemployment figure for the UK, although you could argue that overall unemployment was over 2 million, but they are all different figures using different criteria, JSA only being a benefit for some people who are unemployed, many don't qualify or don't claim.

I had no intention to offend you, Mr. Ratnaraja, in my comment @ 16.16, there would be no point in doing that as it would be counter productive. In my first sentence I was suggesting that it seemed to me that perhaps you felt misunderstood in some of your experiences in this country.

If you read my comment again, I think you will find that I did NOT suggest that '.. Majority of People from the BEM communities entered Britain ...' during this Labour government. Although I think you will find from the statistics, that the numbers of incomers have increased recently. I was referring specifically to the teaching of English, which is what the thread is about, as well as the difficulty that NOT having any fluency in English, causes when trying to find jobs.

Yet Another Anon, the best way to approach welfare dependency is to count the numbers on benefit and work to reduce that in specific target areas. Of course Chris Grayling correctly designates youth unemployment as being an absolute priority. Another priority area ought to be fathers who head families considering that the father is a role model and the cost of the state supporting families.

The government should set these areas as the priority in back-to-work programmes and offer tax breaks to employers who take people on from these target groups. It is a mistake to channel resources into trying to force single mothers and the bona fide disabled into work. This is a flawed strategy and is driven by an egalitarian socialist dogma. To raise living standards single mothers should be allowed to draw on a special loan fund which they can begin to pay back at a reasonable rate once they return to work after the child has left primary school.

It is unrealistic to think we can put everyone on benefit back to work because of the way our economy is structured, so resources have to be aimed at key target areas.

The Conservative government in the 1980s, at a time of very high unemployment, was able to provide work through its Community Programme schemes. These programmes gave the jobless guaranteed waged work for 12 months. Something similar would be of great benefit today.

I am opposed to workfare because I believe in 'a fair day's pay for a fair day's work' However I would support mandatory work programmes if they were fully waged. For many who have never worked giving an opportunity to work for a wage teaches them the value of working, however making them work for nothing makes them resent the work ethic, many will simply refuse to do workfare, will sign off and drift into criminality to fund themselves. We have to keep people in the mainstream, particularly young males who are most likely to drift into trouble.

I am probably the only person who keeps on saying that there is no racism in this Country. What I can say is that People are ignorant specially when it comes to other cultures and communities.

It is quite right to expect immigrants to learn English. It is also right to expect the natives (People who were born and educated here) to speak, read and write English.

However blaming the immigrants for every single problem this Country faces is not the right thing to do.

We also have to accept that the immigrants have contributed a lot more to this Country than most People think.

I am probably a good example. I was educated in Tamil. I think in Tamil. I believe that though I may have been brought up in another Country, when I live in Britain I must live the British way of life.

I also believe that I should get the best out of both cultures. I am a Christian and I also beleive that this Country must be a Christian Country and we should forget about political correctness.

Chris Grayling is certainly toughening the language, but he must tread carefully as I agree with other commenters about not all people claiming benefits are layabouts.

People with mental health needs and long-term illnesses are much more problematic and expensive.

I agree with you Patrick that we should forget about political correctness, perhaps if one dissects the phrase 'political correctness' it would be easier for people to see 'political correctness' for what it really is, which is a political euphemism for a quick fix to sort out a more complex situation, but a situation that can be 'sorted out' in different ways, if people (sometimes people in authority), take the trouble to apply themselves!!!!

To address another of your comments- 'What I can say is that People are ignorant specially when it comes to other cultures and communities.'

You are quite right, there are many people in this country who know very little (and probably don't wish to know) about other cultures or countries, AND this applies to other countries all over the globe also, but it doesn't necessarily make them bad people, or necessarily people who hate 'foreigners'. However indigineous people's of any country, are often - if not usually - suspicious of any person who comes from outside their 'home' territory, its the left-overs, probably, from the original survival mechanism!

To answer another of your points about people 'blaming immigrants for every single problem this Country faces.' I am not sure that people, as a whole, blame outsiders for everything, however, some parts of the media do highlight 'immigrant numbers' to get across a predetermined message!

This country is a comparatively small land mass when compared to France, Germany or Australia, and there is an optimum amount of space that scientists have calculated that people need to live in peaceably. According to statistics - of which there are plenty around - areas of this country are reaching, if they have not already passed the optimum level for harmonious living! And this is calculated in terms of schools being able to cope with the surge of new pupils, hospitals having places for patients, and of course enough work for everybody, and that little lot is just the start of the reality of coping with the numbers of people who see this country as the harmonious, well-off land that they want to come and be part of.

The answer would seem to be to have successful management of immigration, but unfortunately that does not seem to be achieved under this government!

Please do not forget-it is worth looking up-the last Tory manifesto'we all benefit from immigration'.
Most people will conclude from Gayling's speech that he has not got to first base.
Does immigration depress the wages of lower income natives?
If so why are we importing them?
If we import them it stands to reason that those in competition with them especially existing immigrants will lose out.
They also lose out because they have to share limited national wealth in the form of houses roads schools etc with more people.
All black leaders in the USA in the C19 and earlyC20 century such as Randolph ,Du Bois etc recognized that mass immigration hurt black Americans the most-it still does.
Surely it would be better for Grayling to go to 'boot camp'and study the work of Booker Washington. Du Bois etc.

On good news off topic.

Finchley and Golders Green Labour MP is standing down and will not contest the next election. He thinks there is no way in hell of retaining his seat. Rudi Vis says "its time to go" roughly translated, I'm screwed. The seat is the number one target seat in the country.

Yes, I want Margaret's seat back badly.

It is unrealistic to think we can put everyone on benefit back to work because of the way our economy is structured
The fact is that there are always a number of people who through severe disability, fecklessness or low intelligence are unemployable and then you have to add to that a number who are between jobs even in the best of times and people who don't match the sorts of aptitudes needed for vacancies going. It actually is quite good for the economy to have a pool of labour for employers to recruit from otherwise what happens is that there are jobs left unfilled or filled by people who really aren't suitable for them, it also helps keep wage demands down.

Jobs in the economy though have to be doing useful things, or at least things that the employers find useful otherwise they are non-jobs, simply another welfare scheme and surely the whole point of work is living independently of the state not being subsidised in work not doing anything particularily useful.

If the people aren't up to the job then employers whether public or private won't take them on.

"The answer would seem to be to have successful management of immigration, but unfortunately that does not seem to be achieved under this government".

You are absolutely right Patsy.

They should employ People like me to do this as I know most of the loopholes the immigrants use get in and stay here.

All Uk residents should be forced to speak English. Do you think for one moment that many British people who have emigrated to places like Spain, France and Portugal in recent years can speak the native language, of course they can`t. That`s why we have areas in Spain called Little England.
It is a good idea that people speak the native language of the country they live in of course it is because it will make life easier for them but if you want people to learn English then lets re-instant free Language lessons which Labour recently abolished.

Just seen Patsy's comment at 12.37 on 27 May. What more would you like? (one day I'll write a book on it!)
Suffice to say
1. In terms of language we are not talking only about non-Europeans. Lambeth Police even run 'surgeries' with interpreters for Portuguese, Spanish and Polish settlers, although there is good reason to believe that some of the 'Portuguese' are in fact Brazilian illegals, some of the Spanish are Ecuadoran and Colombian illegals (but some Colombians have refugee status).
2.One major problem is that Lambeth is endemically far Left, locked into Seventies Marxism and political correctness, although many of the worst examples weren't even born then. And to add to it, the Police are bedevilled by PCness - one senior officer is unbelievable - he's currently trying to re-organise the CDRP / Consultative Group into a fixed number with an allocation of seats by minority race, LGBT, etc which in practice leaves no representation for white people or those in work. Not even the Daily Mail could think this one up! (CDRP = Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership).
3. So there is much neo-liberal hand wringing and meanwhile we have 100 Notifiable Offences per day, the highest rate of teenage abortions in Europe etc. Thank goodness we have some first class local Police - most (if not all) the Safer Neighbourhoods Teams who are not 24/7 of course but at least are trying to be a police force...

Yet another anon, what do you mean by someone being so unintelligent they are unemployable? I don't think anyone should be described in such a way or they wouldn't be if this country had a decent state education system. Get that one right and some of the problems with people being unemployed a long time would correct themselves.

Tony Makara, you have put your finger on one of the problems with regard to longterm unemployment. One of the biggest problems has indeed been the structure of the British economy - the collapse of industry in the 1980's has left the wrong sort of work avaliable for the people who are longterm unemployed in those areas. Unless a government commits serious resources to training these people to fit the vacancies that are avaliable all talk about reducing unemployment and 'economic inactivity' will be to no avail. The Conservatives should rightly attack the government for failing to do this with their so-called 'New Deal' which has mostly been an abject failure so it is all the more important that the Tories come-up with a better scheme that treats the unemployed with respect and dignity and doesn't stigmatise them

I 've become quite angry reading this thread. Patrick if you're going to write complete tripe like 'more than half the people of this country cannot read or write their own language ' then you deserve to be criticised harshly. You might also learn to try and not twist Chris Grayling's words.

Malcom, You are right. I should not have said more than half the Country.

"Nearly four out of 10 adults in some parts of England cannot read or write properly or do simple sums according to a Basic Skills Agency's report in May 2000. This report came a year after the agency's chairman Sir Claus Moser's report, which described the serious problem of 20% of adults being "functionally illiterate". A reinterpretation of the Moser data put the national average even higher, at 24% - rising to nearly 40% in some areas. On average, 15% have low literacy, 5% have lower literacy and 4% have very low literacy"
(Source: Basic Skills Agency report, May 2000)

I have just got back to this thread - Sarf Lunnon @ 20.57 on May 28th, and I was not disappointed with your equally interesting comment! Yes perhaps you should write a book one day!

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