We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk


Debate: James Caan says parents shouldn't help children into a job. Does he have a point?



What's going on?

Children should not have help from their parents when it comes to finding a job, according to entrepreneur and former Dragons' Den star James Caan.

The Pakistani-British businessman, who is expected to be unveiled as the government’s new social mobility tsar by Nick Clegg tomorrow, said that, rather than stepping in and using any influence they may have to help sons and daughters find their way in the world, parents should allow their children at least a year to try to find work unaided.

Do you agree?

Case for: Sweat

The scoffing at Caan this morning ignores two things. One, he's saying parents should let their children fight it out alone for a year - not forever - before stepping in. Two, he's totally right. This is an uncomfortable truth for pushy parents, hence the sniping. But - if parents do have the power to pull strings - keeping hands off for a while will make it more likely their child a) has to step outside a comfortable social circle; b) understands the real world better, and learns how to sharpen elbows to drive their own success.

Case against: Wrong target

How depressing. Yet more blaming of parents for governmental failings. Caan's argument runs roughly like this: young people are struggling to get jobs, so - rather than address that crucial problem - influential parents should take a moral stand and, looking to the country's general progress instead of their own child's health and happiness, step aside. Presumably they should also charge their children rent, to make sure they understand penury. Caan's proposal works against human nature. It suggests a worrying naivety on the part of our new "social mobility" czar.