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Category Archives: Work and Pensions

‘We must rev up our relationship with India’ – Times Higher Education article – 27 February

 

Last week I led a delegation from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) to India. Whilst on the trip I wrote an article on UK / India collaboration on Higher Education and particularly International Students for the Times Higher Educational Supplement.  You can read the text of my article below:

 

We must rev up our relationship with India

27 FEBRUARY 2014

The UK has to strengthen ties with Asia if it is to reverse the decline in international students, says Liam Byrne

The fall in international student numbers has caused widespread concern across UK universities – and rightly so. Amid a booming global market for higher education, a drop in numbers reveals one blunt truth: Britain is losing market share.

I’ve just returned from India, where I was getting to the bottom of what we need to do to stop the decline and restart the growth. Three facts are striking.

First, we are not even at the “end of the beginning” of our education relationship. Education leaders in India are very clear about the value of international links. “We want our students to be able to compete as global citizens,” one college principal said to me. It’s as simple as that.

The British Council has breathtaking forecasts about the size of the Indian student market. It is not simply that there are more than 600 million people under the age of 25, it is also that Indian students have the biggest appetite to learn abroad. In a country that is clear about the economic virtues of learning English, just 10 per cent of the 1.2 billion population speak English and only 5 per cent speak it well. There is a huge market for us to aim at.

Second, the British education brand still holds extraordinary lustre – but our competition is increasing dramatically.

In a Q&A with 100 students at the elite Sri Venkateswara College at the University of Delhi, I heard from India’s future research scientists, biotech entrepreneurs, teachers, journalists and politicians. What is fascinating is how many of these young people consider international experience and connections to be critical to their future success. But plenty are worried about the chances of landing a graduate level job in the UK even if they manage to undertake their undergraduate studies here.

Timothy Garton Ash, professor of European studies at the University of Oxford, recently argued in a national newspaper that a thesaurus does not contain enough words to describe the folly of the government’s approach; last week, his comments featured in the op-ed pages of The Hindu andHindustan Times.

I know better than most the challenges of getting the immigration balance right. When I was immigration minister, I created the UK Border Agency and introduced the points system. I took immense care to create a system that I thought would work well for UK universities, not least because every British ambassador I met told me that increasing foreign student numbers was the key to expanding our long-term influence in countries where we are not quite the centre of diplomatic attention.

No doubt I did not get everything right. But the signals sent by the reforms of the past three years are heard loud and clear by potential students in India, creating a great wall of noise that makes it harder, not easier, to get the message through about our brilliant UK universities.

That is why it is simply ridiculous that students are in the “net migration target”, and that is why David Hanson, the shadow immigration minister, and I will be soon hosting round-table talks with university and further education leaders to discuss how to claw back lost ground. After all, universities in India have plenty of choice in terms of selecting international partners. One leading principal told me that she was partnering with institutions in Germany and Italy because they teach English well – and more cheaply than we do.

Third, we have to think more radically about building a deeper and wider UK-India education relationship.

Indian vice-chancellors are hungry not just for UK students, but for joint research, faculty and postdocs, beyond the 600 or so education partnerships created through the UK-India Education Research Initiative.

India’s business leaders, like their counterparts in the UK, want a better supply of more “employable” students, and the Indian government has set a target of upskilling an incredible 500 million people within a decade. Like us, Indian policymakers worry about closing the gap between secondary school and university, and that means vast opportunities for our great further education colleges.

So we should be immensely ambitious. If the global race is anything, it is an innovation race. Indian leaders know that they have to double the less than 1 per cent of gross domestic product they currently spend on R&D if they are to put “affordable innovation” within reach of the Indian mass market. Frankly, we face the same challenge. The fastest way out of today’s living standards crisis is to increase the number of people working in knowledge-intensive sectors, where wages are 40 per cent higher than the national average.

You need only look at the extraordinary success of Jaguar Land Rover, a subsidiary of the Indian carmaker Tata Motors, just north of my Birmingham, Hodge Hill constituency, to see what is possible. The fundamentals of our innovation relationship are strong and getting stronger. Developments such as the new Emerging Powers Research Fund, for international scientific collaboration, and Newton International Fellowship scholarships are exactly the kinds of initiatives I called for in my book Turning to Face the East: How Britain Can Prosper in the Asian Century (2013).

The surest way to put this relationship in the slow lane is to make it ever harder for students, teachers and researchers to get across the border.

For political junkies, it is a good time to be in India, the world’s largest democracy. The country is about to go to the polls and, for the first time in years, a change is on the cards.

During my visit, the finance minister presented his budget, a last chance to put a few poll-winning goodies before the voters. And what was there among the headlines? Big new subsidies for student loans. Indian politicians know the allure of a better education for the world’s biggest middle class. We should be doing more to put those dreams within reach.

 

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/comment/opinion/we-must-rev-up-our-relationship-with-india/2011569.article 

 

Mutual Benefits – Research Fortnight article

 

Dear friends,

 

Last week I led a delegation from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) to India. Whilst on the trip I wrote an article on UK / India collaboration on Science and Innovation. You can read the text of my article below:

 

Mutual benefits

The UK and India can both prosper through forging an innovation partnership, writes Liam Byrne in Bangalore

If Britain is to escape the cost of living crisis, it must grow the size and strength of its knowledge-intensive companies, which offer a pay-packet 40 per cent bigger than the national average and generate a third of the national output but currently employ just one in five of the nation’s workers. To do so, Britain needs to become the best place in the world for collaborative science and innovation—and I am convinced that will require deep roots in India. So I have been in Bangalore this week to study the future of what is set to become one of the UK’s most important relationships.

From its modest start as the humble home of small firms like Wipro, Infosys and Biocon, Bangalore has grown to hosts 40 per cent of India’s IT industry and most of its biotech. But it is the city’s ambitions for the future that have really caught my eye. The state government’s cabinet is clear about its plans to supplant San Francisco as the world’s leading IT hub within the next eight years. On Friday the Deccan Herald carried stories of a proposal for Bangalore to become India’s first “smart” city. The business community is organising behind ambitious plans for new infrastructure. This is an ambitious place. How can the UK and India harness these ambitions and ride into the future together?

There are three things to do. First, innovation should be put at the heart of the relationship between the UK and India. This is a delicate moment. The British government is scaling back its foreign aid to India and instead proposes to provide technical assistance and collaboration on great global causes.

With less money to spend in the future, Britain needs to spend strategically. Speaking to development experts, village and city leaders and economists, it is clear that there will be huge demand for help on building low-carbon cities, public health, water and sanitation, urban transit, education and, crucially, good governance. These are all areas where systematic, creative and applied policy innovation between the UK and India could not only boost inclusive growth, but also deliver ideas to offer to the rest of the world.

Second, the damage done to the image of British further and higher education must be repaired. The British government’s net migration target has projected the impression that Indian students are not welcome in the UK. Tim Garton Ash of the University of Oxford recently wrote: “Stupid. Incoherent. Short-sighted. Cack-handed. Intrusive. Counter-productive. One thesaurus is not enough to describe the folly of the British government’s policy towards foreign students.” His comments were widely featured in India this week on the op ed pages of the Hindu and Hindustan Times.

As I have said before, it is ridiculous that students are included in the net migration target, not just for the immediate damage but also because it stops people from thinking far more radically about how to build a deeper, wider education relationship which allows students to incorporate study in India into British degree or research programmes—and vice versa. The business community in Bangalore is seeking such programmes.

The British Council has breathtaking forecasts about the size of the Indian student market: it is not simply 600 million people under the age of 25, but their extraordinary international mobility. Education leaders in India are ambitious for international links and the British education brand still holds great lustre, but the competition is increasing.

Yet as Britain pivots east, India is pivoting west to America and east to Japan. The US-India civil nuclear deal struck in 2005, which enables India to buy nuclear fuel and technology from the US, has yet to yield, but strategically the US-India relationship is strong. It is striking how many of the entrepreneurs I met in Bangalore were educated in America—and how many young people in India look to the US before Europe. Meanwhile collaborations between India and Japan are also strengthening.

The third thing to get right is how to move from shared research to shared innovation. Since 2008, UK-India research has grown to some £150 million, not least because of the excellent work of Research Councils UK and the British High Commission’s science and innovation team. But the challenge now is to build a much bigger innovation relationship.

So I should like to see a good chunk of the £90 million fund for research collaboration with emerging nations, announced by the chancellor George Osborne in his autumn statement, dedicated to UK-India innovation. I want more work to build stronger, bigger joint catapult centres in Bangalore, a popular idea with Bangalore IT entrepreneurs. Crucially I want to see a long-term plan for UK-India innovation that integrates the work of the research councils, the Technology Strategy Board and UK Trade and Investment, with perhaps a bigger shared venture fund. One model for this kind of coordination is the UK-Israel hi-tech hub in the British embassy in Tel Aviv.

The UK and India are capable of great things, as evidenced by the success of Jaguar Land Rover just north of my Hodge Hill constituency. The Royal Society’s bold plan for the first Commonwealth science conference to be held in Bangalore is a fantastic chance to light up in technicolor UK-India science collaboration. The vibrant UK-India Education and Research Initiative, the new emerging powers fund and the Newton scholarships run by the British Academy and the Royal Society are all very welcome initiatives and exactly the kind of proposal I called for in my book, Turning to Face the East, last year.

Britain should be immensely ambitious about the UK-India innovation partnership. History has made the two countries good friends. But the future makes us partners. Let’s make it a partnership with ambition.

Liam Byrne is the shadow minister for universities, skills and science. He led the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association delegation to India this week.

 

Interview with People’s Daily – “China is now facing challenges-an exclusive interview with Liam Byrne MP, Shadow Minister for Higher Education”

 

People's Daily Interview - Feb 2014

 

I recently did an interview with People’s Daily one of the largest news organisations in China. I spoke about the need for deeper relations between the UK and China and shared my understanding of ‘the Chinese Dream’.

 

You can watch my interview using the link below;

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8To-bBpKook

 

 

New Report from the APPG on East Asian Business

Dear Friends,

 

I thought you’d like to see this new report we launched in the House of Lords this week, produced by Roland Berger.

 

Britain needs to turn east if we’re to rebuild ourselves as a mighty trading nation
once more – and this vital report helps show us how.

As Chinese leaders step up their reforms in search of the ‘Chinese dream’, a huge new
market the size of Greece is being created every eleven weeks. But we need to get
organised if we’re to share in those new riches – and we need to think carefully and
strategically about how we structure the win-wins that will be good for both countries.

This report could not have arrived at a better time. It offers a detailed study of how
we can clear away the barriers that stop us exporting, become China’s favourite place
to invest and build the joint ventures that will create jobs both here and in China. It
demands to be read by business people, policy makers and politicians everywhere. In
the APPG, we’ll be doing our utmost to ensure its ideas, messages and proposals are
heard far and wide.

 

I hope you enjoy reading the report you can access the report by clicking here.

 

 

A sleeping dragon is awake and hungry for our exports – my article in the Yorkshire post

ONLY a Yorkshire firm would have the chutzpah to sell tea to China. Yet, nearly 10 years ago, that was the deal delivered by Taylors of Harrogate, the makers of Yorkshire Tea, which dispatched its first £30,000-worth of flavoured teas to Shanghai. It was an auspicious sign for the future – and it’s the kind of story we need to hear far more.

It was long predicted that this would be the Asian century. “Beware the sleeping dragon,” said Winston Churchill decades ago. “For when she awakes the Earth will shake.” Now, the crater made by the global crash means something big. The Asian century is arriving 20 years faster than we thought. Once upon a time, forecasters thought that China might become the world’s largest economy in perhaps 2041. Now experts say we might hit that point in 2016. And the problem is we’re not ready.

If there’s a phrase the Prime Minister likes to quote, it’s the idea we’re in a global race. I happen to think we are. The problem is that we’re losing it while others streak ahead.

Just the other month, the deputy governor of the Bank of England, Charlie Bean, lamented that despite the whopping fall in the value of the pound, our export growth of recent years has been – in Mr Bean’s words – “distinctly underwhelming”.

Our economy is certainly not “re-balancing” towards exports, and while export growth to China is picking up, no doubt, we still trade far more with Ireland, than Brazil, Russia, India and China put together. We invest more in Belgium than China. And German investment in China is twice the size of ours. Germany is in fact comprehensively beating us in what may soon become the world’s largest market.

Germany now accounts for nearly half of Europe’s exports to China, co-ordinated by close ties between German and Chinese leaders and an unbelievably impressive operation at the Deutscher Industrie & Handelskammertag, the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, from its magnificent polished granite, glass and steel headquarters on Breite Strasse in Berlin.

So we need to act together. For the past five years, I’ve been fascinated by this question of how we’re going to pay our way in an Asian century. I’ve travelled all over China, and talked to anyone with an opinion. And what people have said to me is simple. We need to focus like a laser on just what China needs in its next move forward – and think hard about how we can help.

When Xi Jinping swept to power as president of China in March, he offered his people a powerful vision of a “Chinese dream” — a doubling of living standards by 2020. I think Yorkshire could play a big role in making that dream a reality.

So what does China need? There are three big things.

First, China wants to build a home-grown consumer economy so that it doesn’t have to rely so much on exports. The Yorkshire Post and others recently reported on disappointing Chinese export figures. But right now, Chinese workers save a third of their wages for a rainy day rather than spending, because the country doesn’t have much of a pension system or a national health service.

Second, China wants to become a creator, not a copier, of intellectual property. In China it’s called “the iPhone problem”. China’s leaders bemoan their failure to produce their own Steve Jobs, like America. Look on the back of any iPhone or iPad. You’ll see the words, “Designed by Apple in California, Assembled in China”. The challenge for China is that making an iPhone costs about £4. Most of the rest of the £529 cost is Apple’s profit. China doesn’t take much of the pie.

Third, China needs to find a home for something like £100bn of foreign investment every year between now and 2020. Today, China only invests abroad at about the same level as Denmark. Over the next decade that’s going to change radically. You’ve heard of Made in China. Get used to “Owned by China”.

All this could mean some gigantic win-wins for us. We’re experts in building the “soft infrastructure” that China needs to create a safety net like ours. Our teaching hospitals are among the best in the world. We’re home to the some of the greatest insurance and pensions companies on the planet. Our legal system is world-renowned. We’ve an awful lot of knowledge to profitably share.

And as China’s consumer market blossoms, and even on a pessimistic scenario it will grow by $2 trillion between now and 2020, we need to use our membership of the world’s biggest free-trade club – otherwise known as the European Union – to knock down trade barriers for the sectors where we’re strong, especially financial services, high-tech engineering and world-leading brands. Businesses where Yorkshire is strong. What would be wrong with a little bit of self-interest in Europe?

Next, England – and Yorkshire – is one of the most innovative places on earth. Yorkshire is home to some of the world’s greatest universities, helping to educate thousands of Chinese students.

We should be thinking much more strategically about how we interconnect Yorkshire’s hi-tech firms, investors, innovators and universities to the great growth hubs in China.

Consulting firm McKinsey forecasts that up to a quarter of world economic growth between now and 2025 – about £8 trillion – is going to be driven by just 242 cities in China. Do you know where they are? You need to. Region-to-region links are going to be the great growth zones of the new global economy.

Finally, I think we need to be making sure Yorkshire is one of China’s favourite places in the world to invest. Chinese investment in Britain is growing at a rapid pace. Last year saw a flurry of activity, with Chinese investment in Weetabix, Heathrow Airport and Thames Water. But China is not investing as much in Britain as elsewhere. We need to change that: our investment-starved economy needs it.

If we get all this right, it would make a huge difference to our economy. In 
fact, if we tripled the growth of our exports to China we could add 0.5 per cent to GDP every year. Winning in China isn’t going to happen overnight or on its own.

This is not about a few more trade trips organised at late notice. It’s about a real national strategy – thought through for the long term.

The original article can be found here: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/debate/columnists/liam-byrne-a-sleeping-dragon-is-awake-and-hungry-for-our-exports-1-6045521

My speech to Labour Party Conference in Brighton, 23rd September 2013

Conference – It’s a privilege to open this debate, a debate we approach with a passion and care.

That’s not a sign of weakness, that’s a sign of our strength.

We are so much stronger and our policy is so much better for the work of Unison’s Liz Snape, the TUC’s Kay Carberry, for the leaders of our ten biggest councils, to those from business and the third sector who’ve worked so hard on our youth jobs taskforce.

It’s stronger for the Labour councillors all over Britain who have helped us think radically about how we revolutionise the Tories’ failing back to work system.

It’s stronger for Sir Bert Massie, a pioneer of disability rights, for his taskforce, and for the hundreds of disability activists who have helped us think radically about how we make rights a reality for disabled people.

And it’s stronger for all our brilliant PPCs, fighting in key seats, who brought together residents to tell us how they want Labour to rebuild social security and a different kind of Britain.

And what sort of party would we be if we were not passionate about the stories we hear.

Like the woman I met with MS who told me how her carer, her teenage son, had lost all his support; it’s tough she said, for a boy to lose to that help when he knows his mum won’t get better.

Or the Remploy workers on a GMB picket line, fighting for work, who said to me: this isn’t just my job; this is my life.

Or the thousands of young people, I fight for in East Birmingham, hunting for work, who speak of the hundreds of CVs they send and never even get a reply – and still they keep going.

You know, there’s a Tory minister – and I’ll let you guess where he went to school – who tells us: our young people lack grit.

Well, let me tell you this: the young people fighting for work in East Birmingham have got a damn sight more grit than you need to get through Eton College.

Good people all over Britain hear these stories too.

And right now they’re asking themselves what kind of country are we becoming?

Once upon a time the Tories told us they cared: all those speeches in Easterhouse.

And people gave them the benefit of the doubt.

We were promised a Tory party that cared about the poor.

We were promised a welfare revolution.

We were promised we’re all in this together.

Three years on I tell you the jury is in.

A cost of living crisis.

A million young people out of work.

Long term unemployment at record highs.

Disabled people living in fear.

Child poverty rising.

Living standards hammered.

A promise that started in Easterhouse has ended with the spectacle of a Tory Minister, Michael Gove, blaming the poor for the temerity to turn up at a food bank.

He should be ashamed.

Three years on, I tell you the verdict is simple:

These Tories have let their prejudice destroy their policies.

And just as bad as the prejudice is the incompetence.

They say to err is human.

But if you want someone to really screw it up you send for Iain Duncan Smith.

And Conference that’s why we need to fire him.

But let me level with you, we won’t win power with a plan to roll back the clock.

To restore the status quo.

To ignore the calls for change.

The vast majority of people in this country believe the welfare state is one of our proudest creations.

It’s a mark of a civilised society.

But the vast majority don’t believe the system works for them or for modern times.

So let’s not be the defenders of the status quo, we must be the reformers now.

Today life is very different to the days of Beveridge.

The job for life is gone.

If you’re without a skill, you’ll most likely to be without a job.

Two thirds of couples both work – yet struggle with child-care.

Millions struggle on low wages while company profits rise.

Hundreds of thousands save for decades just to buy a home.

We’re aging, and yet fewer have a pension.

Getting a job, setting up home, working as a parent, caring for another, saving for the future.

These are the challenges of the real world you can’t solve by demonising others.

These are the challenges for One Nation Social Security.

And the truth is today the system doesn’t help.

So we need to change the system.

And build a new consensus rooted in our values, our party’s values, our country’s values.

Where we listen not to our demons but to the better angels of our nature.

Were we move from a language of division to a language of respect.

Where we match the personal responsibility to work.

With the collective responsibility to care.

These are the founding principles of the system we built in 1945, and these are the principles we must restore.

And today I want to tell you how.

With the ideas we’ve hammered out in hundreds of conversations and debates all over Britain this last year.

And the cardinal principal is this, full employment first.

Full employment has always been the foundation for rebuilding Britain. It was for Atlee’s Labour, it was for New Labour, it will be for One Nation Labour.

The Tories system doesn’t work.

So we need a better way.

So let’s start with a tax on bankers bonuses’ to fund a job for every young person out of work long term.

But let’s go further.

Let’s take the ideas – like Apprenticeship Agencies, pioneered in Labour Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Newham and Wales.

And use them to revolutionise the path from the classroom to the career.

But, let’s go further.

Let’s stop fighting unemployment with one hand tied behind our back.

Let’s deliver a large devolution of power from the DWP to local councils.

Let’s build a new partnership between our job centres and town halls.

Let councils shape the programmes to get people back to work.

And let’s go further; let’s set a limit on the time we’re prepared to let people languish out of work.

Let’s invest in jobs for anyone out of work for two years, but say it’s got to be a deal.

We’ll invest in new chances, but if you’re fit to work, we’ll insist you take it.

Full employment first, that’s the Labour way.

Conference, any job is better than no job. But a good job is better than a bad one.

When the welfare state was started, its big idea was to ‘minimise disruption to earnings’.

Now our task is different. It’s to ‘maximise potential of earnings’.

That why we need Universal Credit to work.

So if the government won’t act to save it, we will.

The Tories’ system may prove dead on arrival. So we need a better way.

So, today we announce our Universal Credit Rescue Committee.

And I’m grateful to Kieran Quinn, leader of Tameside, the first pathfinder, for his offer to drive our work.

But, we’ll need more.

We’ll need a campaign for the living wage because it is wrong that we are spending the nation’s tax credits propping up low pay at firms with rising profits.

The deal has got to be simple. If your workers help you do well, then you need to give them a pay rise.

We the Labour party stand as the party of work – and the party of better off in work.

But, listen, if we want a new consensus, we need to remember this: if working people are strong, then Britain is strong.

So we should help working people.

Yet, those born in the turbulent world of the 1960’s, pay so much in and get so little out.

It’s wrong and we should change it.

Those in their 50’s are the people who’ve worked most, cared most, served most. And what do they get?

I’ll tell you, nothing.

So let’s bring back an idea from Beveridge.

Extra help for those who’ve paid their dues but are desperate for extra help to work again.

After a lifetime’s working or caring, I think it’s the least we can do.

Conference it’s a modest step – but it’s a big signal.

But, there’s something more.

Like most families in this country, I know that disability can affect anyone.

Therefore it affects us all.

Yet, today disabled people are threatened by hate crime, by Atos and by the Bedroom Tax.

Today we deny disabled people peace of mind, a job, a home and care – and I tell you that is wrong.

We need to change it.

So we will change the law so hate crime against disabled people is treated like every other hate crime.

And I say to David Cameron, Atos are a disgrace, you should sack them and sack them now.

And yes Conference we say the Bedroom Tax should be axed and axed now and if David Cameron won’t drop this hated tax, then we will repeal it.

We’ll protect disabled people in Scotland and across the UK.

Conference, we need a system that delivers the right help to the right people.

So assessments have to stay.

But let’s take Andy Burnham’s idea of whole person care and ask why not bring together health, social care – and the back to work system into one comprehensive service.

That’s what Labour did in Australia.

Let’s see if we can learn from that here.

I’m delighted to announce that Jenny Macklin, a fine Labour politician and the architect of the system down under, is going to help us figure out how.

Conference, nearly 10 years ago many of you helped win a very tough by election.

For nearly a decade I’ve served the poorest constituency in Britain.

I know in power we will have difficult decisions to make.

And I passionately believe we judge our success not by the money we spend but the difference we make.

There is no moral credibility without financial viability.

That’s why we’ll cap social security spending.

But, full employment, fair pay, a return to Beveridge, rights a reality for disabled people, fair pensions not for some but for all.

These are our principles for rebuilding social security for new times.

More than 50 years ago, my hero Clement Attlee, a man with the best hair in Labour history, made his final broadcast to a war weary nation hungry to win the peace.

We call you, he said, to another great adventure, the adventure of civilisation, where all may help to create and share in an increasing material prosperity, free from the fear of want.

That’s the Labour way, that’s the Ed Miliband way, and that’s the way we’ll win.

Enterprise and Youth Unemployment – a report to Labour’s Youth Jobs Taskforce

 

Under this Government youth unemployment reached a staggering one million young people out of work. Even more face the prospect of a low skill, low paid and insecure job. This has to change.

 

But we don’t just want to help people to get a job; we want to help those who want to create a job for themselves and for others. An enterprise revolution amongst our young people could help us tackle the scandal of youth unemployment – and help get our country back on its feet. And that’s what we’re setting as a Labour ambition today.

 

Today, Britain doesn’t do as well as we should in global enterprise league tables. In fact, if we had the same start-up rate as Germany or America, we could create another 200,000 new self-employment opportunities and businesses. That’s the conclusion of a brilliant new report written by Jamie Mitchell, former managing director of Innocent Drinks for Labour’s youth jobs taskforce today.

 

The report is urgently needed. This week, we learned that the government’s much vaunted plan to help would-be entrepreneurs innovate their way into work is miles short of hitting its target. The New Enterprise Allowance was supposed to support 40,000 people set up shop. But, it’s still 35% short of hitting its goal – and a measly 6% young people have received help. We think we need to do better than that.

 

Jamie’s recommendations should be read and considered by any one – and any party – who thinks that we can and should do better. Studying the pioneering work of Labour councils all over Britain, along with the great work of the Prince’s Trust and Young Enterprise, Jamie has handed some big conclusions to think on. First, we need to make sure enterprise isn’t just a bolt-on to careers advice. Enterprise needs to be recognised as a big option that’s open. There is no lack of talent, ideas or creativity among our young people. Our problem is that too much of this entrepreneurial energy is unrecognised or unsupported.  Right now, JobCentres’ advice is mixed at best and what’s left of our careers service often gives enterprise but a fleeting mention.

 

Second, Jamie also  encourages us to consider whether we could expand the Start Up Loan scheme, targeting young people aged 18-30, and how to put more emphasis on encouraging young unemployed people to consider the New Enterprise Allowance, which is on course to dramatically miss its targets. Local councils needs to follow the example of trail-blazers like Sheffield Council, which has built a team of school enterprise champions, academies like the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy offering enterprise qualifications, business networks offering advice, and universities offering incubator space, advice, training and even grants – all dedicated to boosting the ranks of local young entrepreneurs.

 

Next, we have to look at enterprise in schools; Young Enterprise for example, reckons that 42% of their alumni start a business during their career. That’s nearly twice the rate for those who join their programme. And finally, we need to think about how we measure outcomes a little better so that we know what works and what doesn’t.

 

This is a big ambition. It is to the next generation of entrepreneurs that we will look for the businesses that will help our nation thrive in a fast changing world, drive the innovation that will improve our lives, and create the decent jobs we need.

 

Jamie’s report is about putting entrepreneurship at the heart of our national story and builds on our ambition to make this happen – from our plans for a proper British investment bank with a network of regional banking to help businesses get the finance they need, to a revolution in skills giving firms the support, funding and responsibility to make this happen.

 

Our challenge is to open the floodgates of opportunity, giving our young people the chance to turn their good ideas into successful businesses.

 

The Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP is a former technology entrepreneur and Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Chuka Umunna MP is Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills

 

Please click on Enterprise and Youth Unemployment to read the report.

Industrial incompetence at DWP cost taxpayers £1 million a day

This government promised to fix the system but instead it’s getting worse. Their industrial scale incompetence is losing the tax payer a million pounds a day because of the chaos at headquarters.

 

We can’t go on like this. David Cameron has now totally lost control of DWP, and with it a third of government spending. He needs to get a grip – fast.

 

“Benefit errors cost taxpayers £1 million a day” by the Telegraph can be found here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10307615/Benefit-errors-cost-taxpayers-1-million-a-day.html   
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