What Bracknell Thinks: Rewards for businesses employing out-of-work teensBy Victoria Smith
February 24, 2012
The Government has announced it will reward businesses and charities with payments of up to £2,200 for every young person aged 18 to 24 they employ.
Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg announced the £126 million project this week as an attempt to reduce the number of young people who are not working.
We asked our panel if they support the initiative.
Henry Ellis, of Bracknell Aikido Club: “There was a similar scheme in the 1980s when I was in business. I saw it then, as I do now, as little more than a con to reduce the damaging high employment figures.
“I have spoken with several people who find it almost impossible to sign on for Job Seekers Allowance, as they are finding more and more obstacles to stop people from signing on. I remember the means testing in the 1940s – it will be back.”
Janet Curley Cannon, artist with the Gallery@49 in Broadway: “In principle it’s a good idea, but will it be real value to the young person and the taxpayer or just a way to offset a company’s cost?
“If the scheme offers valuable skills and training that will help with future employment possibilities then yes, but if a burger place gets money to have a few more staff clearing tables, no.
“Keeping young people in education or training is good for that person, good for the community and ultimately good for the economy. I hope there are strong guidelines of what a business needs to provide to the young person and a verification process, otherwise its just political marketing.”
Hazel Kent, owner of the cafe at Bracknell Market: “Why not bring back some form of National Service to get those kids doing something. Or why not get them doing community work to benefit everyone rather than giving businesses money?
“Perhaps if they were given work in the community they would grasp the meaning of work and actually enjoy giving rather than taking. I work for nothing and love it – it gives me a purpose in life.
“The trouble with this country is it gives far too much away to those who wouldn’t know what work is if it hit them. Kids who don’t gain GCSEs aren’t all stupid and are often good grafters. Give them a chance and get them working.
“Work inspires, handouts don’t.”
Brad Garland, from Birch Hill: “What the government needs to do is make a law against firms that make a profit to reduce staff numbers in any way, not give our money to businesses so they can take advantage of cheap labour and make yet more profit.
“If every business in the world operated to break even, everyone could be employed on a good wage, and you could still have the rich/poor divide that the wealthy are so desperate to keep.”
Clare Heffill, of the Alzheimer’s Society in Bracknell: “I don’t think it’s a good idea for the government to give businesses money from the public purse to employ young people.
“Firms are in business to make money and should pay their way. I feel the whole structure of education and apprenticeships needs revising. Not all young people want to go on to university or college– many are not academic but are talented in other ways and are willing to learn a trade.”