Labour is telling young people in Somerset it is the only party that can offer them hope for the future. The squeeze on jobs and incomes has led some to feel politics doesn’t work for them. A few are turning to far right movements. But a Labour government would help those who now feel marginalised. Nathan O’Loughlin – Youth and Student officer for Bridgwater and West Somerset Labour Party – has been listening to young people’s concerns:
Nathan says: “Many young people in Somerset feel they are being left behind because of this government’s priority of the privileged few. There are young people in Somerset desperate to find work who can’t find it. Two people have given me permission to write about their issues.
Struggling because of this government’s incompetence.
Adam 23 has been on Job seekers allowance since he was 18. He has learning difficulties and struggles with his confidence at job interviews. He has been working voluntary for the past 2 years and managed to find a temporary 6 month job as a cleaner. He is desperate to find work but feels employers won’t give him a job because there is always someone more experienced. Adam said “Every time I apply for a job they write back telling me there was someone more suitable, I just can’t win. I just want a job and it get off Job seekers allowance, I just feel left behind and fed up”.
Sophie 20 is a single parent and is looking for part time work. She has not got much availability because of her commitments being a single parent. Sophie said “Labour’s promise of 25 hours free childcare will really help single parents. It will give them more availability to look for part time work”.
Labour would guarantee work or training for the young unemployed.
16 – 20 year olds hit hard
Those who are in work are finding it hard as well, especially workers under 21. Although the minimum wage has increased since 2010 it has hardly increased for 16 – 20 year olds. Here are the facts:
The Minimum wage for 21 year olds and over was £5.93 in 2010 and now is £6.50 an increase of 57p
The Minimum wage for 18 to 20 year olds was £4.92 in 2010 and now is £5.13 an increase of 21p
The Minimum wage for 16 – 17 year olds was £3.64 in 2010 and now is £3.79 an increase of 15p
The Apprentice rate was £2.50 in 2010 and now is £2.73 an increase of 23p
In 2012 there was no increase in the Minimum wage for 16 – 20 year olds.
Labour would increase the minimum wage for all age groups, to bring it closer to average earnings
UKIP and Tories not the answer
UKIP believes the way to tackle youth unemployment is to deregulate small business of environmental, health and safety and employment legislation. And the Tory-Lib Dem government has cut workers’ rights, so there is no job security for the first two years in a job. I believe UKIP and the Tories are wrong, we need regulations to protect workers and stop employers from exploiting them.
We need to address the fact that young people in our area don’t connect with politics and we need to expose far right parties/movements because they are not the answer for young people.