Archive for July, 2011

Helping young people into work

Below is my response to a letter from Cllr. Warren Morgan which appeared in the Argus recently:

Cllr. Warren Morgan is not in any position to lecture the Conservative Party about youth unemployment (Argus letters, 30th June).

The previous Labour Government left 5 million people languishing on out of work benefits and, due to the deep recession which they presided over, youth unemployment was already rapidly rising when the Coalition Government took over. Furthermore, many of the jobs created over the last 10 years or so that should have been taken by our young people were filled by non-British nationals – the proportion more than doubled under Labour. So much for Gordon Brown’s boast of ‘British jobs for British workers’.

Cllr. Morgan seems to have conveniently forgotten that the Coalition Government recently announced it would fund an additional 80,000 work experience places for young people and allocate £180 million to provide up to 50,000 additional apprenticeship places over the next four years – considerably more than Labour planned.

He also doesn’t tell readers that at the last Budget Council meeting, his Labour Group (along with the Greens) failed to back our proposed £100,000 investment to establish a new Local Apprenticeship Fund and to give additional funding to the Brighton & Hove Education Business Partnership, which provides young people with a range of work-related learning activities.

You are quite right Cllr. Morgan that creating new jobs will help to reduce our enormous budget deficit. Therefore, I’m sure you will welcome the fact that over half a million jobs have been created in the private sector over the last year – more than 3 times higher than the reduction in public sector employment. If we don’t take steps now to live within our means as a country we’ll end up paying higher taxes or making deeper spending cuts just to pay-off our debt Putting off deficit reduction measures, as Labour want, will only create more problems for young people further down the line.

Travellers – response to Cllr. Pete West

Below is the text of a letter I had published in the Argus recently:

Cllr. Pete West makes a number of accusations against me and the previous Conservative Administration of Brighton & Hove City Council which I must respond to (Argus letters, 30th June).

Firstly, Cllr. West accuses me of scaremongering over the scale of the problem. Well, if he had checked through the records, as I have done, he would see that this time last year there were precisely zero unauthorised traveller encampments in the city. He should also perhaps talk to the Police who are having to allocate extra dedicated resources to try to manage relations between the settled and traveller communities. This is not scaremongering, it is the reality, and if Cllr. West spent some time talking to residents, he would soon realise this.

Secondly, it is simply not true to say that the previous Administration achieved nothing on travellers for 4 years. We put significant sums of money into refurbishing the Horsdean transit site on two occasions after it was vandalised and this now has space for 23 caravans. I agree with Cllr. West that there is a need for a new permanent site in the city but this will not go anywhere near to solving the problem. As many travellers have stated themselves, they already have permanent bases elsewhere in the country and are not interested in settling here.

And as for political point scoring Cllr. West, it was the Conservative Group who, very early on in your Administration, put in a request to set up a cross-party scrutiny panel to look at solutions to the traveller issue.


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