I’ll always prioritise fighting for decent jobs
Posted by Kate Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston, at 13:40, Fri 18 May 2012:
The latest employment figures published this week showed -at last- a small fall in unemployment. But still over 2.6 million people are out of work, jobless rates for women have risen nearly twice as fast as for men over the past year, more than half a million men are working part-time because they can’t get fulltime work, and long term rates of unemployment continue to increase.
I’m especially worried about long-term youth unemployment, where the number of young people aged 16-24 unemployed for over a year continues to rise.
This week in parliament we’ve been debating the Queen’s Speech. But there wasn’t actually anything in the Speech about how the government plans to deal with youth unemployment. So Labour MPs took the opportunity to highlight the government’s complacency.
Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East, and I spoke particularly about the high rate of unemployment among young black people. Young black men aged 16-24 have twice the rate of unemployment of young white men. Yet when I asked the Minister a few weeks ago what policies the government was developing to address this shameful situation, he told me they weren’t taking any specific steps at all.
They’re not even monitoring ethnic minority employment rates.
I’m really angry at the waste of talent and potential when young people can’t find work. Debbie and I will continue to push this matter in parliament, we’re going to apply for a special debate on the subject, and I’ll be working with the Runnymede Trust to look at what other measures we could take.
On a happier note, I was delighted to join Trafford College staff and students at an awards ceremony on Monday as part of adult learners’ week. The college had won an award for its One World Enterprise project, which enables students with learning difficulties to get qualifications and hands-on experience running the college cafe.
I met some of the students on Monday, and their stories were really inspiring. They talked about the work they’d done and the skills they’d been able to develop.
We know employers value experience when they’re recruiting staff, so I wasn’t surprised to hear that students who’d been involved in the programme were successful in getting jobs with local employers.
This is a great initiative, and I was delighted to see Trafford win a national award.
I was also very pleased to attend a seminar organised by the Single Parent Action Network, presenting research on the barriers lone parents face when trying to get into work.
Top of the list was out of school childcare, especially for older, secondary school age childcare. Lone parents are keen to work, but they worry if their kids are left hanging about on the streets.
Labour’s set up a childcare commission to look at what more we could do to improve childcare choices for parents. I’d love to hear you views.
So it’s been a week when what works to get people into good jobs has been top of my agenda. I know how important that is to local people too. Our community has a proud history of industry and hard work. I’ll always prioritise fighting for decent jobs.