On a morning when polls suggest Jeremy Corbyn is increasing his lead in the Labour Party leadership contest he’s put a smile on the face of many a youth worker. In his A Better Future for Young People document he pledges, “Labour should maintain the commitment to a statutory youth service, in order to offer young people the benefit of wide-ranging, advice, guidance and support to access further and higher education.”
More broadly he argues,
“Young people have faced more challenges under austerity than the generation before them.
“To win the next election Labour must stand for a growing economy not a cuts-based economy that chokes off growth, stifles recovery and makes life harder for young people.
“It is wrong and immoral that our young people are three times more likely to be unemployed, to be paying huge rents and struggling with enormous tuition fee debts.
“What sort of country are we that we punish our young people for getting themselves educated, or wanting to get a job? I’ve been listening and working with Young Labour members and this is their vision of the future they want.”
The full list of pledges is as follows:
- Reducing the voting age to 16 years.
- An end to all tuition fees in further and higher education.
- The creation of a National Education Service for all free at the point of use.
- The restoration of student grants, Education Maintenance Allowance & Disabled Students Allowance
- The introduction of a statutory £10 an hour living wage for all workers, including replace the current £2.73 per hour apprenticeship rate with an equalisation of a higher, £10 a living wage across the board.
- A Labour Party committed to properly funding, increasing and improving apprenticeships schemes. Committing colleges to work in partnership with employers to mutually accredit apprenticeships and courses that offer high quality transferable skills.
- Establishing a Living Rent Commission to implement rent controls and protect tenants in the private sector by capping rent increases.
- Equal rights at work regardless of age or time worked, with a ban on zero hour contracts, and place a weekly minimum for hours on contracts.
- An end to different payments in benefits for under 25s and the same rate of Jobseekers Allowance for all seeking work and restoring equal access to housing benefit for under 21s.
- A statutory youth service to provide advice guidance and support to young people wanting to access further & higher education.
- Compulsory sexual, consensual and relationship education.
- More autonomy within the party for Young Labour, enabling them to make their own policy and run their own campaigns with fully funded youth officers.
Obviously there is much to be welcomed here – to say the least. However I don’t think it’s churlish to suggest that someone with Jeremy’s ear needs to sort out his understanding of the nature and purpose of youth work. His pledge sounds much more a commitment to a Careers Service than a Youth Service.