The Chancellor’s Axe: Where do you Stand?

The complete report of the infamous 20/10/2010 budget review has been published online. Throughout this 106 page review, the chancellor has been swinging his axe of financial austerity, lopping limbs of the country’s budget with the gusto of an 80s horror movie baddie and leaving little unchanged. But in this all too thorough review of liberal cuts and occasional increases, one issue has been extended barely a cursory mention; the graduate. And given the intensive media focus on the plight of today’s young graduate and the growing youth unemployment over the past few years, this omission is a glaring one.

From the depths of this volume we have hand selected a handful of issues likely to affect young jobseekers.

  • Among the few items to directly address the youth employment issue was the continuation of the apprenticeship scheme introduced by the previous Labour government and, by 2014, to increase it by £250 million a year.
  • The age of participation is to be gradually increased to 18. For many this will simply involve staying at school for another two years, but apprenticeships and part time learning are options for those who still wish to leave formal education.
  • £4.2 billion cuts in tertiary education await those willing to remain in education. Universities are to be allowed to charge tuition fees as they see fit to cover this deficit. A £150 million National School’s Fund is being set up in a move to address the social inequalities such a rise in the price of higher education will cause.
  • Green industries are seeing massive investment of over £2 billion; including £1 billion for the world’s first carbon capture power plant, and other significant contributions to establish a UK wide Green Investment Bank. Touted by Cameron as the growth industry to replace Coal and the public sector as the North East’s next great industry in job terms, the Green Sector is likely to see massive increases in size and scope in the coming years.

But for now… that’s about it: the New Year will see the publication of a revised White Paper that will amend and further detail how the cuts are to take shape. We will likely have to wait until then to fully understand how the graduate ties into this budget.

At Inspiring we feel that young jobseekers have been abruptly and inexplicably sidelined in the wake of intensive media coverage about the issues surrounding graduates: a disappointing conclusion given the severity of the youth unemployment issue. We hope the new year will bring renewed focus on employment so that real steps in facilitating job finding are made for the benefit of the nation’s thousands of forgotten graduates.