'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Friday, 25 November 2011

Youth Jobs. I'm spending the whole weekend worrying....

Ok. We're all over the news. With good news.

1. There's a new scheme to help solve the terrible problem of Youth Unemployment.

2. Nick has taken ownership of the initiative

3. Everyone - in principle - seems to think that it's a good thing (here's an example from a source who doesn't generally back the Lib Dems...).

What's more - Labour's alternative would create just 100 000 new jobs (compared to the 400 000 this scheme will create) and David Cameron (let's be generous here team, he made a great observation in PMQ's on Weds) pointed out that Labour's funding for the scheme - bankers bonuses - looked a bit flaky. Here's the Sky news report:

Mr Cameron rejected the Labour leader's claim that a bankers' bonus tax could be used to create more jobs for young people.

"We've just heard a new use for the bonus tax - there have been nine already," he told cheering and jeering MPs.

He said the Opposition had already suggested it pay for more tax credits, cutting the deficit, public services, the Regional Growth Fund, turning empty shops into community centres and higher capital spending.

Mocking Ed Balls' tendency to make a hand gesture at the Prime Minister, a wave intended to reflect a flatlining economy, Mr Cameron added: "This is the bank tax that likes to say yes!

So far so good.

Then I read this piece in today's New Statesman entitled 'Clegg comes unstuck on jobs scheme'.

The article suggests that the scheme will be funded by freezing tax credits - thus helping one group by hitting another who need all the assistance they can get.

'That's not right', I thought. 'We've had a fist fight with The Treasury and agreed to raise benefits by 5.2% across the board. Its a Lib Dem victory.'

Anyway, before I fired off a strident rebuttal on the comments section I just thought I'd check via the Lib Dem blogosphere - and it seems things are not clear cut.

Tax credits are a Gordon Brown invention as Chancellor, and were firmly under his control - and therefore are managed by The Treasury, not the Department of Work and Pensions and not included in the 5.2% rise.

The actual truth is - no one knows where the money is coming from until we hear George Osborne give the Autumn Statement, and it won't come from a single source.

But if tax credits are frozen on Tuesday, then we know the line that will be taken - hitting the poor to help the young.

Please don't let it be true.

Update and Cheerier news.

Just dug this off the Telegraph website. Quotes from Nick. Doesn't sound like freeze on tax credits to me...

"We will do everything we can to make sure the poorest are protected. We will not balance the books of this country on the backs of the poorest".

Mr Clegg added: "Over the last year and a half we've increased capital gains tax, we've slapped on a big bank levy, we've made sure that the loopholes that the wealthy enjoy are closed and we will have more of this kind of thing to make sure that the people with the broadest shoulders pay their fair share"

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