Employment: Britain prefers carrot and stick approach

The British government has adopted a mixture of Continental "carrot" and American "stick" in its attempt to extract young people from the dole queue. Barrie Clement, Labour Editor, looks at the British approach to unemployment.

New Labour is convinced that improving the quality of programmes for out-of-work youngsters may be insufficient to ensure the participation of the real "hard cases". For those who refuse to avail themselves of the Government's flagship "New Deal" for youngsters there are swift and severe benefit penalties.

The New Deal for young people will provide an early test of the "third way" philosophy espoused by the Blair government. Ministers hope to chart a new course between the paternalism of Continental governments and the brash, authoritarian approach of the Americans.

As David Blunkett, Secretary of State for Education and Employment, declared this summer on launching the scheme: "Staying in bed on full benefits will not be an option."

The Government however will find it difficult to overcome the prejudice of some 18- to 24-year-olds who have seen discredited "schemes" come and go. For many, acronyms such as Yops and YTS characterise long periods of unemployment followed by short bouts of low-paid, casual work.

Training for Work, the latest programme established by the previous government for those over the age of 18, never quite achieved the goals set for it by ministers. The latest figures show that around 41 per cent of participants were in a job six months after leaving the scheme. Just 4 per cent secured the old apprentice-level skills.

Using the windfall tax on privatised utilities, Labour has expressed its determination to infuse the new policy with "quality, continuity and employability". Data published yesterday shows that the Training and Enterprise Councils, which will help to deliver the policy, have already recorded a substantial increase in qualifications achieved on courses they manage for young people.

The New Deal will provide four options which the entrant will be invited to choose as part of a process of induction: a subsidised job with the private sector, work with a voluntary organisation or with an environmental task force, or full-time education or training.

For those completing the course, civil servant "mentors" will attempt to guide those whose prospects have not improved "to avoid them slipping back into disillusionment".

Ministers have earmarked pounds 3.5bn over the next four years for the policy and 13 pilot schemes all over the country are expected to start next January.

The Government plans to withhold 40 per cent of an individual's personal benefit for "unreasonably" refusing the opportunities on offer. A young, fit, single man without dependents living at home would see his state payments reduced from pounds 37.90 to pounds 22.74.

Ministerial assurances that the "stick" will be used sparingly against recalcitrants, have been unable to overcome misgivings. Clara O'Donnelly, researcher at the Charity-funded Employment Unit, argues that there are many within the Employment Service which emphasises the need to "police" people on to schemes.

She argues the success of the new initiative depends not only on the commitment of politicians, but also on the attitude of officials.

"Senior officials who have dealt with other schemes are incredibly enthusiastic. They say they wouldn't have liked any of their children to have gone on those, but believe it is possible that the new initiative may given young people something to take away with them," she said.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week