Reeves says axing benefits for the young “is not and will not be our policy”

November 20, 2013 9:35 am

Last night the Telegraph ran a report that suggested Labour could be planning to cut benefits for under-25s who are out of work and not in training. The entire story was based on an upcoming report from the IPPR’s influential Graeme Cooke, but as influential as IPPR are in the Labour Party (and they are hugely influential) – it’s a big leap to suggest that because they’ve written a report it’s automatically Labour Party policy.

And Rachel Reeves has made it very clear this morning that it’s not Labour Party policy – and won’t be, tweeting this morning in response to those who had contacted her:

“This is not and will not be our policy” “it’s not our plan” and “it is totally not my position!”

That all sounds pretty clear to me. Labour’s policy remains a job guarantee for young people – and I’d expect the party will use the furore over the Telegraph report to try and reinforce that.

Update: And now Reeves has tweeted a link to this very piece, saying “We need a jobs guarantee for young people not blaming them for Tory failure.” I think we can consider this a non-story…

Update: While we’re here – it’s worth pointing out what the report is actually about (ending NEETs and getting all young people into jobs or training). I’m guessing that whilst the means to fund this (cutting benefits for the young)  are unpopular in the Labour Party, the aim itself is actually something most would like to see.

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  • DaveAboard

    Well, as the Guardian has now also spun this story this morning I would suggest that Reeves needs to get her face in front of a TV camera. Sub-140 character “tweets” do not constitute “opposition” or, indeed, government, despite what most MPs seem to think these days.

    • treborc

      I doubt to many people will read it or worry about it, after all if you read the report or part of it you can make your own mind on what it’s about.

      It does show what can happen when groups like the Tory tea party can do by speaking before thinking.

    • Mike Homfray

      Oh, its a storm in a teacup. Get the policy right and launch it in our time

    • Mike Homfray

      Oh, its a storm in a teacup. Get the policy right and launch it in our time

    • reformist lickspittle

      Despite the best efforts of Nick Watt, the Graun has now been forced to admit (doubtless through gritted teeth) that this is not going to actually happen.

      I actually think the party has done quite a good job of killing this one off quickly – maybe lessons learned from RR’s “debut” interview debacle?

  • Redshift1

    Bloody Torygraph!

  • Monkey_Bach

    I’ve read articles on this site by Graeme Cooke. Why is such an obviously amoral political fool considered to be “influential” in any way, shape, or form?

    Enough said.

    Eeek.

  • PaulHalsall

    Ending benefits for the under 25’s is the way to lose the election. Students, graduating at 21 with no guarantee of a job, and no means to get through the six or seven months it often takes to get first jobs, will simply not vote or vote lib dem.

    The goes especially for students from working class and complex family backgrounds.

    If Labour goes in to the election with this policy I will vote Green.

    As it is, my monthly DD to the LP goes out tomorrow and I am thinking of cancelling it.

    • Mike Homfray

      Depends what you replace it with. I hated being unemployed at 21 and would have welcomed something constructive to do

      • PaulHalsall

        Me too Mike, and I got a job after 6 months. But what was I supposed to have done for that six months? (This 1982, the height of Thatcherism).

        It took my brother, with an IT degree, two years to get a job (a good one in fact). But in 1982, there were almost no options.

      • Michael Byrne

        I would guess most would. Who wants to be bored and unemployment causes all kinds of problems the worst thing say with mental health so it makes no sense for people not wanting to do things

      • robertcp

        Me too. I was unemployed for a total of 18 months in the late 1980s.

    • Mike Homfray

      Depends what you replace it with. I hated being unemployed at 21 and would have welcomed something constructive to do

    • reformist lickspittle

      Have you actually read the above piece? IT ISN’T HAPPENING.

      I find the desperate search of some people for something – ANYTHING – that they can feel suitably “betrayed” and self-righteously offended by, more and more depressing tbh. Its not all about YOU.

      • PaulHalsall

        Sorry that’s not me. Reeves is the politician, and she could have gone on TV to say the Telegraph was all wrong.

        And, as a person living with AIDS, and an almost suicidal depresssion, this is about ME.

        • reformist lickspittle

          Sorry about your personal circumstances, obviously – I have had depression myself and it is not nice.

          But I don’t see why it is so important for Reeves to go on telly (where she will doubtless have been hectored by hostile and biased hacks in the now time honoured fashion) This was not proposed by any Labour party person, and the now evident fiction that the party was “considering” it was the invention of a hostile newspaper who knew it would get the usual suspects rattled. It is a non-runner, let’s all accept that and move on.

        • Redshift1

          I’d be cancelling my membership too if this were true, but it isn’t.

          The only people you’re helping if you leave the party over this non-story is the Tories.

    • jaime taurosangastre candelas

      Paul,

      I don’t disagree with you at all on the fundamental point you make that withdrawing of benefits is wrong, but I do disagree that firstly a policy of a job guarantee is a “solution”, and secondly that any individual graduate should not be expected to seek part time or interim roles for the time it takes for them to find permanent employment associated with their degree topic.

      I will wait for the production of a detailed policy on the job guarantee, but in principle, to me it is unworkable. Only Government can guarantee a job being available: it cannot force any non-public sector employer to create a job. And what sort of jobs are these to be? They cannot be specifically targeted to any particular skills that a graduate has, so they will be generalist. Given that the graduates taking them up will want more focussed employment, they will transition through the generalist jobs while looking for long term employment, so the jobs cannot be important or rely upon skills of the employee, nor on longevity in post. That to me sounds like very low skilled and unimportant work.

      • robertcp

        You raise some sensible points about the job guarantee and I suspect that it will be difficult to fully implement. However, I was unemployed for a year after leaving university in the 1980s due to a mixture of mass unemployment and being hopeless at interviews. So the job guarantee will still help a lot of people in my opinion.

  • PaulHalsall

    Ending benefits for the under 25’s is the way to lose the election. Students, graduating at 21 with no guarantee of a job, and no means to get through the six or seven months it often takes to get first jobs, will simply not vote or vote lib dem.

    The goes especially for students from working class and complex family backgrounds.

    If Labour goes in to the election with this policy I will vote Green.

    As it is, my monthly DD to the LP goes out tomorrow and I am thinking of cancelling it.

  • Mike Homfray

    The New Statesman article makes a lot of sense. We only have young people on benefit because of the failure of current approaches. Change the approach and young people can do something more productive

  • Babz Bates

    Every responsible and right thinking person would surely want employment for those able bodied enough to work for their living, but threats and “crackdowns” or cutting benefits for under 25’s wouldn’t create jobs out of thin air and Labour and Ms Reeves are wise enough to know that only too well. One way to instantly provide more work for younger people would be to get the state retirement age down to a more realistic age, let women and men retire at 62 with a decent state pension (which is NOT a benefit but something we have paid in for all our working lives) and free up millions of jobs for those starting out in life. Seems so simple to me.

  • Annak53

    If Labour were to repeal the discriminatory changes to the State Pension Law then hundreds of thousands of jobs will be created for our young people who have a right to work. The longer we are being forced to work the fewer jobs there will be for them. Yet Labour have yet to voice their opinion of the changes. Which is very disconcerting.Due to the timescale that this law was introduced, hundreds of thousands of us have been denied the opportunity to make any contingency plans for retirement. After working hard for decades the short notice that the changes were imposed also immediately vanquished retirement plans.

    However, Civil Servants, within 10 years of retirement age were, quite rightly, given immunity from the changes to the Civil Service pension reforms. This was to ” Provide transitional protection for those closest to retirement”.

    MP’s and Judges are also protected from the changes because “”This protection strives to be fair to members who are close to their expected retirement age and are less able to change their plans than younger members”. Not only is this hypocrisy on their part it is also discrimination and therefore illegal.

    It is discrimination to impose “rules” that disadvantage one group of people more than another. It is against the law to treat someone less favourably than someone else.

    http://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/statepensionlaw

  • rekrab

    It’s also very important that no one is asked to work for less than the going rate and all people on benefits should have the right to join a trade union, ensuring that manual handling and skilled training is a mandatory requirement for all employers and that all employers mutually respect and honour a trade union presence in all working places.

    And that all employers give reasonable time for trade union reps to carry out their duties and those work place above 200 employers have a full time convenor.

    • treborc

      Why 200 employees, I mean having 200 employees these days could mean only a hand full of people being in a Union. my last job had 450 workers and only sixteen were in the Union.

  • Michael Byrne

    On young people this morning they were talking as though young people just didnt want jobs and eastern europeans were more willing to do a variety of jobs. But for me there is a lack of facts available. One would have to question if those jobs were advertised and what people had to do to get them. Wanting to work and getting it are two different things, simply making assumptions is dangerous. Under 25 year olds are not an homogenous group. I would say its bad for this country is people will brains are being wasted if there wasnt enough brainy jobs it should of been honest and guide young people into what is needed. I feel adults have not done enough especially employers to work and engage young people and currently many young dont seem to be incorporated into society they are living separate lives and sorry but adults are to blame. There are many young with mental and physical problems too. It seems too many employers want to try to fit square heads in round holes, so why not change and reorganise jobs to suit the employees. An American reporter had it right the real problem is employers being too fussy

  • Michael Byrne

    The problem is the experience thing. My mom got factory work in the 50s but then you werent required to have experience just show up very different now and I dont thing people realise this

  • Michael Byrne

    The one issue I have is comparing india and china and people getting work here but firstly this depends how easy it is to get work in these countries and also india and china are countries where the poor are treated badly and there is inequality so people must look after each other plus community cohesion is far stronger so they look after family members but also where work comes ahead of people. Is this the best model for britain? Inequality in many of these countries is terrible and social justice and people less voice

  • Michael Byrne

    Its like how people use the bible to justify the work ethic. Just like they use the bible to say god hates gay people. The bible says no such thing! It says work is part of life but shouldnt overtake other aspects of someones life, neither does it say people should work extremely hard to get to god, it does say not to work sunday to rest and be with family. But work in the bible regarded all work whether paid or at home, women therefore worked hard at home despite not earning and were valuable members of society

  • Michael Byrne

    So volunteers do work hard equal to that of paid workers

  • Michael Byrne

    It does say though all peop.e should be respected and valued including work which isnt happening

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