Tim Loughton, the Children’s Minister declares, ‘For too long young people in this country have had a raw deal.‘ In the paper ‘Positive for Youth’ we are told the government is ‘giving young people the chance to ‘youth proof’ government policy. A new national scrutiny group and youth select committee will monitor and advise on government policy.’ The British Youth Council has been awarded funding from 2011-2013 to facilitate this process and support the fifteen young people making up the scrutiny group.
The purpose of the National Scrutiny group is to:
- Enable Government departments and Ministers to seek young people’s views on the content and implementation of their policies and thereby enable them to make more informed decisions;
- Advise Ministers and departments on appropriate standards for the meaningful and credible involvement of young people in policy development and scrutiny.
In this light a straightforward question to the BYC and the NSG, have you been consulted about this latest Coalition policy decision?
Young people leaving education with no job to go to will be made to do three months’ full-time unpaid work experience with charities and social enterprises or have their benefits cut, the Government has announced.
Displaying a deep sensitivity to the dilemmas faced by young people today a Department of Work and Pensions spokesperson said “We don’t want them waking up at lunchtime and playing computer games all day.” To which Chris Grayling, the Employment Minister added, “A something-for-nothing culture does no one any favours.” Not to be outdone Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, quipped, “I would much rather people had the fun and the experience of work placements and the confidence that comes with it than being on benefits and doing nothing [and] seeing their self-esteem fall away.” Fittingly or otherwise the scheme, which will start in the autumn, will involve 6,000 Londoners in 16 boroughs, who will complete 30 hours of fun-filled work for 13 weeks. And, would you believe in a trail-blazing move the young people will get a further 10 hours, within which to learn about CV’s, job interviews and searching for work? Not heard that one before.
Frankly this initiative is weary and cynical. Surely it’s not been ‘youth-proofed’, has it?