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Category Archives: Youth unemployment

East Birmingham Growth Prospectus – 24 February 2015

 

Dear friends,

I wanted to share with you a copy of the East Birmingham Growth Prospectus which I launched this morning. 

East Brum Prospectus for Growth Front Cover

 

This is the biggest plan for jobs in East Birmingham we’ve ever had. It was hard fought. But by demanding the government, the Council and HS2 pull together we’ve got an amazing plan for jobs and skills. At Washwood Heath we’ve forced HS2 to look at new plans to ensure 2,334 jobs are created rather than a giant train carpark – plus a £1 million investment in skills for local people and the City Council’s regeneration plan. It’s a once in a generation opportunity to transform our local economy.

LB with Cllrs and MPs at WashwoodHeath

Liam with Jack Dromey MP, Shabana Mahmood MP and Cllrs Ansar Ali Khan and Mohammed Idrees at the old LDV site in Washwood Heath – a centrepiece of the new plan

 

You can find the full press release with statements from Shabana Mahmood MP and Jack Dromey MP here.

 

The news was covered by both the Birmingham Post and the Birmingham Mail.

 

Washwood Heath jobs boost as HS2 gives up claim on development land

HS2 land freed to create over 2,000 jobs in Washwood Heath

 

With all best wishes

 

Liam

 

Birmingham Labour sets out bold plans for 9,000 jobs in East Birmingham – 24 February 2015

 

Birmingham Labour sets out bold plans for 9,000 jobs in East Birmingham

 

The City Council’s East Birmingham Growth Prospectus, backed by a new plan for the old LDV-Alstom marshalling yard, and £1 million skills investment by the government was launched today by East Birmingham’s three MP’s and Council leader, Sir Albert Bore.

 

Liam Byrne, MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill, who has spent the last three years helping nurture and coordinate the plans today heralded the breakthrough as a ‘triple win’ for the city.

 

The plan has identified 3.7 million sq.ft of new employment floorspace as home for 9,000 new jobs including 3,000 jobs at Bordesley Park, and 1,000 new homes and improvements to local community and shopping provision in the Eastern Triangle – including Shard End.

 

Alongside the City Council’s East Birmingham Growth Prospectus, the MP’s have secured Parliamentary backing for a Plan B at the old LDV-Alstom marshalling yard, creating space for 2,334 jobs, and £1 million for investment in skills to be delivered through a new joint venture, chaired by Council chief executive, Mark Rogers.

 

Speaking at the former Alstom and LDV site in Washwood Heath,

 

Liam Byrne MP said: “This is the biggest plan for jobs in East Birmingham we’ve ever had. It was hard fought. But by demanding the government, the Council and HS2 pull together we’ve got an amazing plan for jobs and skills. Here at Washwood Heath we’ve forced HS2 to look at new plans to ensure 2,334 jobs are created rather than a giant train carpark – plus a £1 million investment in skills for local people and the City Council’s regeneration plan. It’s a once in a generation opportunity to transform our local economy.”

 

Jack Dromey MP said: “Our city has a great industrial tradition. We want Birmingham once again to be the workshop of the world, the city of a thousand trades. The constituencies we are proud to represent suffer from high unemployment and an acute shortage of affordable housing. This bold joint-initiative with Birmingham City Council will create badly-needed jobs and build baldy-needed homes, transforming East Birmingham into an economic power-house.”

 

Shabana Mahmood MP said: “Unemployment and worklessness has remained stubbornly high in East Birmingham for too long. This detailed plan for jobs provides a real opportunity; it recognises that it’s not enough to give people skills, we have to ensure there are skilled jobs for them to go into as well. In addition, we will keep up our pressure on HS2 bosses to ensure that the old LDV-Alston marshalling yard is used to create even more jobs locally – rather than the giant train carpark some envisage.”

 

Notes:

1)      Contact Deborah Harries at Birmingham City Council for further details on the East Birmingham Growth Prospectus. deborah.harries@birmingham.gov.uk, 0121 303 4777.

2)      Liam Byrne MP, Jack Dromey MP and Shabana Mahmood MP, as well as a number of local council candidates will be doing a photocall at the Washwood Heath / old LDV site on Tuesday morning at 10:15

3)      For further details please contact James Pignon at james.pignon@parliament.uk or on 0207 219 6953

Building the British ‘Dual System’ – my speech to the 2015 Skills Summit

“Building the British ‘Dual System’”

A speech to the 2015 Skills Summit by Liam Byrne MP,

Shadow Minister for Universities, Science & Skills

Westminster Central Hall, 12th February 2015

 

It’s a great pleasure to join you at the last skills summit before the election.

I’d like to congratulate you on such a successful programme this year; I hope you got a bit of light and not just the heat of the parties’ pre-election manoeuvres.

This is a great week to be here.

While we might lack a little of the glamour of the weekend’s BAFTAs today, I think it’s worth reflecting on what a brilliant country we live in. Where one of our greatest scientists, Stephen Hawking is celebrated at one of the greatest cultural events of the year. We’re brilliant at science and technology in the country. We know it and we have known it for centuries. Indeed we’ve been burying our scientists with our sovereigns since the death of Sir Isaac Newton.

Yet companies like Jaguar Land Rover show how science and technology are not just a nice part of our history, science and technology are part of our future. A little known fact is that a Jaguar model XJ needs around a 100 million lines of software code.

The question for policy makers is whether our performance is going to match our potential. And the argument I want to make this afternoon is that we’ll fail unless we crack on and build a British ‘dual system’ with a strong new path to technical and professional skills – much like the system we designed for the Germans, 70 years ago, but forgot to build ourselves.

Now we’ve long had this problem.

Indeed Lord Percy, in his report to parliament in 1944 concluded that:

“The position of Great Britain as a leading industrial nation is being endangered by a failure to secure the fullest possible application of science to industry… and…this failure is partly due to deficiencies in education.”

What was true in 1944 is true today.

The challenges is that the skills crisis is getting worse.

Business leaders like Mike Wright at Jaguar Land Rover tell us that:

“We are not educating nearly enough skilled apprentices or graduates to replace those retiring from manufacturing roles…”

Firms have had to sponsor in 282,000 people from abroad over the course of this parliament because they could not get the skills they need here in this country. As someone who represents the constituency with the highest youth unemployment in Britain I can tell you that that is just not good enough.

But you’ll forgive me for arguing that the Government is destroying our chances to build a ‘dual system’ of the sort that works so well on the continent.

When Labour was last in government we left strong foundations: we rescued the apprenticeship system and rebuilt our FE colleges.

But a good ‘dual system’ needs good technical education that starts in all our schools, yet over the last few years there’s been a 16% increase in unqualified teachers.

A good ‘dual system’ needs a good careers service but the CBI says that the careers system is currently “on life support”.

A good ‘dual system’ needs strong further education yet post 19 FE funding has been cut by 40% and Mr Cameron has refused to promise to protect it in the years to come.

A good ‘dual system’ needs a big, high quality apprenticeship system – but apprenticeships for the under 25s are falling and most are at Level 2 not Level 3 or higher.

A good ‘dual system’ needs the freedom to take a technical, professional path to degree level skills – but only 2% of apprentices do and there’s been a 40% fall in those starting HNCs, HNDs and foundation degrees.

Today those on a professional and technical path, from the age of 14, pass through systems overseen by Ofqual, Ofsted, the AQA, the EFA, the SFA and HEFCE. It’s a dog’s breakfast and it needs to change.

I think there’s a better way forward and I want to set out today the building blocks in building the British ‘dual system’.

First, everyone from the age of 14 must be able to access some kind of technical education.

Second, it’s patently obvious we need to rebuild a careers service incorporating the extraordinary success of initiatives like the Skills Show.

Third, we need a high-quality, gold standard technical baccalaureate and of course everyone needs to study English and Maths up to the age of 18.

Fourth, we need a new degree of specialisation in our colleges, which is why Institutes of Technical Excellence are such a welcome idea.

Fifth, our apprenticeship system needs to be bigger and better: we should be sending as many young people onto an apprenticeship as to university.

Apprenticeships should be studied to Level 3 and crucially we need a huge expansion in the number of apprenticeships at degree level, Level 4 and above – much in the way that Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls Royce and BAE System have pioneered.

That is why we’ve said Technical Degrees – what I’ve called ‘earn while you learn’ degrees – are our priority for expanding higher education.

That in turn will require our FE colleges and our universities to join together, in what I’ve called Technical Universities, to offer students a clear flight path to degree level skills.

Now building this ‘dual system’ won’t be free – it needs a strong system of further education as a strong spine in the system.

That is why today I’m confirming Labour’s plans to protect in real terms the budget for 16-19 further education, local authority and other maintained 6th Forms, 16-18 apprenticeships and 16-19 bursary funding. Today these add up to about £8bn of public spending but protecting this in real terms will be worth £8.4bn by 2018/19.

In my research I’ve written about a new competitive threat to this country from rising economies from Germany to Guangzhou.

I know that if we want to live better than others we have to be better than others. That means building a skills system that gets everybody, not just some, to the very highest levels of their potential.

Only in that way can we offer a future that is optimistic and ambitions.

Only in that way can we be a country that is full of hope and not a country that is facing the future with fear.

Thank you.

[ENDS]

 

 

 

Press coverage of my A13 trip – urging students ‘use your vote’

 

Dear Friends

Last week I had the pleasure of getting out on the road (motoring down the A13) to meet young people and talk about their aspirations for the future.

 

It was an invigorating trip and hopefully, with young people feeding back into Labour’s #shapeyourfuture, we will see a transformed future of opportunity for Britain’s young people.

Here’s an article from the Newham Recorder;

MP concerned about influence of Russell Brand urges Newham students ‘use your vote’

16:15 27 January 2015

Liam Byrne MP at New Vic college encouraging students to vote in May

Liam Byrne MP at New Vic college encouraging students to vote in May

 

More than three million young people will have their first opportunity to vote in May’s general election – but students at New Vic Sixth Form college say politicians must do more to regain their trust.

Liam Byrne MP, shadow minister for universities, science and skills, visited the college in Plaistow to urge government and politics students to take part in the democratic process.

He is concerned about influential figures like campaigner Russell Brand, who is telling the British electorate not to bother voting in May.

In a trip to the school on January 20 the MP spoke to young people about their futures and listened to their concerns.

Financial help with studies and getting a job after university were listed as the students’ top concerns and the majority felt policies on tuition fees would determine who they voted for in May.

The trip was part of Labour’s “shape your future” consultation roadshow, planned to gather students’ concerns in order to help shape their manifesto for young people.

Government and politics student, Abdullah Saheb, said: “Many young people have lost trust in politicians, so politicians should do more to regain their trust.

“I think it’s a very good thing Mr Byrne visited us because it encourages young people to vote and restore our trust in politicians.”

Mr Byrne, who last visited the college in 2009, said it was a delight to visit NewVIc, adding: “The young people were full of aspiration and entrepreneurial flair.

“This generation is as ambitious and optimistic as any which has gone before – we need their voice in politics.”

Principal Eddie Playfair said, “This was a great opportunity for us to share our work with a front bench education spokesperson.

“I was able to tell him about the large number of NewVIc students who progress to university every year and also explain how we have been affected by the cut in funding for 18-year-olds and the unfair VAT position of colleges compared to schools.

“Young people in Newham have fantastic ambition and skills. They really value education and they want the next government to invest more in their futures.”

 

 

Byrne gets #shapeyourfuture on the road – 19 January 2015

Byrne gets #shapeyourfuture on the road

 

Liam Byrne takes Labour’s #shapeyourfuture consultation down Billy Bragg’s ‘highway of dreams’ through estuary Essex to the sea.

 

This week Liam Byrne, Labour’s shadow Universities and Skills minister, will visit seven Further Education colleges in six constituencies across three days taking the A13 from West Ham to Southend.

 

Liam Byrne said:

 

“Our young people are as aspirational and optimistic as ever. They see the world of possibility like no one else. But right now they face a sea of uncertainty, with high unemployment, fewer apprenticeships, sky high university fees and even higher house prices. Despite this they’re far more tolerant about issues like immigration – and are much less likely to vote UKIP.

 

Only 10% of first time voters say they support UKIP.

 

But: many young people are not registered to vote – and nearly 2 million young people say they may not vote.

 

Last week Ed Miliband launched Labour’s #shapeyourfuture consultation. We want to hear what from young people about their hopes and aspirations and what they want from a Government that represents them.

 

I am helping get #shapeyourfuture on the road, listening to young people and encouraging them to speak up, register to vote and make their voice heard.”

 

Editors Notes:

 

  1. 1.      Liam will be visiting:

 

i)                    Newham Sixth Form College; NewVic

ii)                  Barking and Dagenham College

iii)                Ockenden Studio School 6th Form College

iv)                Palmers 6th Form College, Thurrock

v)                  PROCAT college, Basildon

vi)                SEEVIC College, Benfleet

vii)              South Essex College

 

 

 

2. How young people have been hit by this government

i.            Young people are now the first generation in a century to be poorer than the generation before them.[1]

ii.            Young people are now more likely than pensioners to be living in poverty according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation[2]

iii.            Almost 740,000 16-25 year olds are still out of work – that’s one in six young people.[3]

iv.            There are now 5,000 fewer apprenticeships for under 19 year olds than there were three years ago and the majority of new apprenticeships created since the election have gone to over 25s.[4]

v.            Today’s students will graduate with a debt of £44,000. On average that’s going to take people until they’re in their early 50s to pay off.[5]

vi.            Young people in work have seen their earnings cut by almost £1800 a year, since 2010.[6]

vii.            Young people’s household income has fallen by 20% since 2010 – in effect, they’re working Friday afternoon for free.[7]

viii.            A generation ago a deposit for a house took six month’s pay. Today’s first time buyers would have to save every penny earned for more than two years. A house for a first time buyer cost £36,000 in 1988. Now it costs £190,000.[8]

ix.            Today only one in six of under 35s now own their own home when it used to be more than one in four – and there’s half a million more young people living with their parents than in 2010.[9]

x.            Young people are now expected to work three more years before they get their state pension.[10]

 

 

ENDS

 



[1] Social Mobility & Child Poverty Commission, State of the Nation 2013

[2] JRF/New Policy Institute, Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion, November 2014

[3] House of Commons Library: Youth Unemployment Statistics, November 2014

[4] House of Commons Library: Apprenticeships Statistics, February 2014

[5] Sutton Trust, Time to Pay, April 2014

[6] House of Commons Library analysis: the decrease in real median weekly earnings for 22-29 year olds is equivalent to £1,750 per year (CPI adjusted) between 2010 and 2014

[7] Among the 22–30 age group, median income fell by 20% after housing cost between 2007–08 and 2012–13. (IFS, Living Standards, Poverty & Inequality in the UK, 2014)

[8] House of Commons Library analysis, December 2014 comparing house prices (mix adjusted) and real incomes from 1988 to 2013

[9] Savills: Residential Property Focus Q4 2014 / IFS, Living Standards, Poverty & Inequality in the UK, 2014

[10] Centre for Policy Studies, October 2014

Byrne welcomes HS2 Committee call for Plan B at Washwood Heath – 19 December 2014

 

 

Byrne welcomes HS2 Committee call for Plan B at Washwood Heath

 

Liam Byrne MP has welcomed a major breakthrough in the battle for jobs at the LDV-Alstom site earmarked for a marshalling yard.

 

Following a major campaign led by Liam Byrne MP. The HS2 Bill Committee has ordered the Government and HS2 Ltd to change their plans to maximise the number of jobs on the site.

 

Although the committee has not ordered the marshalling yard to be moved, the committee have ordered HS2 to report on how they will work with site owners.

 

The proposed site is the size of 100 football pitches and makes up one third of the industrial land in Birmingham.

 

It lies at the junction of Ladywood, Erdington and Hodge Hill – these three constituencies are together home to 45% of the City’s unemployed.

 

The site owners, together with Liam Byrne MP, have now submitted a ‘Plan B’ proposal that would see  2,334 jobs be created.

 

 

Liam Byrne MP said:

 

“This is a real breakthrough. The HS2 Committee has heard our call for jobs. Now HS2 Ltd must work with us on a Plan B that could see 2,334 jobs created in the inner city.”

 

 

Lorely Burt MP for Solihull said today:

 

“I have long argued for jobs to be protected at Washwood Heath whilst also being conscious of not damaging UK Central’s prospects for delivery. The Select Committee’s decision on Washwood Heath is quite obviously a ‘win-win-win’. A win for the people of Washwood Heath, Solihull and also HS2. Now we need HS2 to engage fully with all interested parties to deliver the 2300 private sector jobs set out in the alternative plans referred to by the Committee plus the 600+ new railway jobs as soon as possible.”

 

Caroline Spelman MP for Meriden said today:

 

“The decision from the Select Committee is common sense in action in relation to the Washwood Heath site.  This is a win-win situation where HS2 get to build some of the infrastructure they need while the rest of the site can be used to create many more jobs, without needing to displace the marshalling yards into my constituency.  HS2 should now engage and respond positively to the AXA proposals. Anything less would not be in accordance with the Select Committee’s wishes.”

 

 

ENDS

 

 

Notes to editors:

 

Statement from Robert Syms MP (Chairman, HS2 Select Committee) dated 16th December 2014:

 

“On Washwood Heath, we were impressed by the submission from AXA and our colleague Liam Byrne and we sympathise with the need to address high unemployment in and around his constituency.  We do not believe there is enough evidence to support a move of the RSMD from Washwood Heath.  We impress on HS2 the need to adjust the scheme so there is minimum land take and for the shortest time … We expect to hear from HS2 on that and on whether they can reach agreement on that taking account of the more recent AXA proposals which are dated 12th December.”

 

 

Birmingham City Council sees further fall in unemployment – December 2014

Dear Friends,

 

Great news, figures released today from the Office of National Statistics show that unemployment continues to fall in Hodge Hill – 17 December 2014.

 

The number of unemployed claimants in Birmingham, Hodge Hill as of November 2014 was 4,479.  This represents a rate of 9.9% of the economically active population aged 16 to 64.

 

This number is far too high and there is still much work to be done, but the new figures show that the number of people claiming jobseekers allowance (JSA) is 1473 lower than November 2013 and 263 lower than October 2014.

 

These figures show that Birmingham City Council’s efforts to tackle unemployment are making a real difference here in Hodge Hill – we will continue to fight to get more people into better jobs.

All the best,

 

Liam

Time to Start Backing and Stop Attacking Our Young People – My speech to Burnt Mill – Tuesday 16 December 2014

There has been some press coverage of my speech. You can read coverage from the Independent here,  from the Evening Standard here, and a piece from me in LabourList here.

I am also delighted to say that the visit was covered by YourHarlow – here.

If you have felt exploited by a long unpaid internship then I want to hear from you.

Drop me a line with your story to byrnel@parliament.uk 

Liam

————————————————————————-

LB at Burnt Mill - 16 Dec 14

Liam Byrne and Suzy Stride PPC outside Burnt Mill Academy with staff and pupils  

.

.

Time to Start Backing and Stop Attacking Our Young People

Speech to Burnt Mill [Academy], Tuesday 16th December 2014

Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP

 

Introduction

[Thank you very much.]

It’s a big relief to leave the turmoil of the capital and find the calm of your campus.

Back in Westminster, there’s so much doom and gloom it feels like the government wants us to live in some kind of Narnia: always winter and never Christmas.

Everywhere, there’s cynicism when we need a bit of idealism.

Too much fear, when we want hope.

That’s why it’s brilliant to be back in Burnt Mill, the place that set me on my road.

It’s been brilliant to watch your star shine in the years since I left

It’s been incredible to watch your turnaround under the amazing Helena Mills

It’s a really proud moment to speak here in what’s now an Outstanding School

That’s a testament to your hard work, your parents’ support and some amazing teachers.

But what I love about Ms Mills approach is this

She’s ambitious for you to be able to compete anywhere in the world: here in Britain, in Europe, in China, in America

I’m here to say that I think it was time politicians signed up to same ambitions as your teachers and parents – and stopped running you down and started backing you up.

It’s time for a government that stopped attacking you and started backing you.

THE FUTURE

Right now there’s just too many people who want to tell you that’s nothing possible, when you live in a world of possibility.

The truth is the future is going to be amazing.

But that future is going to be unlocked by you.

Your generation holds the key.

By the time you’re my age, you’ll have seen a revolution in artificial intelligence, robotics, mapping our own genome to personalise our healthcare, generating energy, storing it. They’ll even invent smart-phones that don’t run out of battery by 4pm.

Massive changes in infotech, in biotech, in nanotech will not only change the world, they’ll create extraordinary new products, new services, new jobs, new companies and new opportunities for you.

When I was here back in the 80s, we had one clunky old Commodore PC in the science lab upstairs that you could sneak on at lunchtimes when the physics teacher Mr Dunbar let you.

Today, Britain’s computer gaming industry is £2 billion big and gives jobs to thousands of people.

It’s bigger than our film or music industry.

Its technology is hard-wired into our most advanced products from smart phones to planes to cars.

I’m told the infotainment system in a Range Rover is now worth more than the engine.

Like you, I had some great teachers when I was here.

One of the teachers inspired my love of science. In fact she ended up as head of science here.

Ruth Byrne wasn’t just my teacher. She was my mum.

And when she died of cancer aged 52 she left me with a vivid sense not only of how much science has done – but how much left science has to do.

And beating cancer is just one of the things you’ll see happen this century.

You’ll be among the leaders of this revolutionary change in the years to come – if you get the backing you deserve.

We are amongst the greatest pioneers on the planet.

Here in Britain we cracked the atom, decoded DNA, invented the world wide web.

Today it’s an old Burnt Mill boy, Michael Arthur, who now leads one of the world’s greatest universities, University College London.

He started his education sitting where you are.

If people like me can make it into the Cabinet, if Michael can lead one of the world’s greatest universities, then so can you.

But here’s the BUT.

If our country is to help unlock this amazing new future we need you to do well.

The truth is the prizes in the future are going to be bigger.

But the race is going to be tougher.

You have to compete in a world that is far harder than I did.

When I was here, I don’t think we worked as hard as you.

We spent a lot of time thinking about the fights with Netteswell down the road.

Or how to get served in the off-licence at the Willow Beauty.

Music was as important to us as it probably is to you.

I was totally into the Jam and the Clash – and you’ll find this hard to believe now, it inspired me to get a mohican not long after I left. Those were the days.

You’re in a much tougher race. A race where the competition is global.

This Easter, I was in Bangalore.

I spent a Saturday afternoon with the Chief Executive of a major British manufacturing company on the shop-floor of his Indian joint-venture.

‘Here in India’ he told me ‘I’ve the choice of 850,000 engineering graduates every year.

Let’s say 15% are fit to hire – actually the real number is 50% – but let’s say its 15%. It means I have hundreds of applicants for every job. Quality wise they’re just as good as my apprentices in [the Midlands].’

‘What are they paid?’ I asked.

‘About £5-7,000 a year’ came the reply.

That kind of challenge means we have to work harder to keep you ahead of the game. Because unless we constantly get smarter we will get poorer.

Your head is a great teacher because she’s determined that you’re equipped to win in this world.

But that is why we need to stop running young people down and start backing them up.

With new answers to help them get on in life.

Look at how the cards are stacked against young people today.

Young people today are now more likely than pensioners to be living in poverty.

Young people today are the first generation in a century to be poorer than the generation before them.

One in six young people are still out of work.

There’s over 5,000 fewer apprenticeships for young people than there was three years ago.

It is now harder to get into BAE Systems’ apprenticeship programme than to get into Oxford.

If you get into university, you leave with £44,000 of debt that takes until your early 50s to pay off.

Those lucky enough to get work, have seen their earnings fall by over £1,600 a year on average since 2010.

Young people’s household income is down by a fifth – in effect, they’re working Friday afternoon for free.

When I left school, a deposit for a house took six month’s pay.

Now you have to save every penny you earn for more than two years. A house for a first time buyer cost £36,000. Now it costs £190,000.

Result? Only one in six of under 35s now own their own home when it used to be more than one in four – and there’s half a million more young people living with their parents than in 2010.

Oh, and just for good measure, young people are now expected to work three more years before they get their state pension.

You have to ask yourself: can they make it any harder for young people?

That’s why it makes me so furious when people decide to add insult to injury, and start moaning about young peoples’ attitude.

There’s one writer who calls this generation, Generation Wuss.

Last year, Jamie Oliver, who I generally like, was labelling young people ‘whingers’, ‘wet behind the ears’ and ‘too wet for work’ – and the Mayor of London promptly backed him up.

The Daily Mail is always running stories about companies like Greencore complaining that they have to employ East Europeans because Brits won’t take low paid jobs.

And it wasn’t so long ago a group of Tory MPs actually wrote a book [Britannia Unchained] claiming ‘lazy’ Brits preferred a lie in to hard day’s work.

And a while ago, a Tory minister was saying that our young people lacked ‘grit’

How dare they!

While you’re slogging hard – they’re sloping off putting Parliament on a three day week and playing Candy Crush in committee hearings.

When is this going to stop?

Have you noticed, when you hear politicians slagging off young people, it’s never their own kids they’re talking about? It’s always someone else’s.

I’m sick of it.

Our country needs your rebellious optimism now more than ever before.

We need politicians to stop attacking young people and start backing young people.

I’m someone who’s done every job under the sun.

I started working life frying chips in McDonalds in the High.

I’ve been a white van driver for Johnsons, which I managed to smash up by reversing into some scaffolding. I’ve swept floors. I’ve picked fruit. I’ve sold suits. I’ve sold photocopiers – badly. And I’ve started a hi-tech business that created jobs for others.

I’ve learned that any job is better than no job.

But a good job is better than a bad one.

And right now we need more good jobs – and you need more help getting them.

That’s why there’s one big change that is top of our ‘to do’ list.

The biggest change in the professional jobs market has been the boom in unpaid internships.

There’s now around 100,000 internship opportunities a year; most in London and many unpaid.

And more than one in three graduates employed by firms have worked for the firm before – often as an intern

But here’s the challenge.

The average unpaid internship is three months long and can cost over £930 a month.

If you’re from a low income background you just can’t afford to do that.

The result is that the best jobs are getting locked up by those with the richest parents.

That isn’t right. It isn’t fair. And it needs to change.

This change has got be part of a wider ambition to once more put the power of government behind you – and not against you.

Like a new Tech Bacc, so young people who want take a professional and technical route to work, have got a gold standard qualification.

A Youth Allowance to support anyone under 21 studying at college.

More high-quality apprenticeships so by 2025 as many young people can start an apprenticeship each year as enter university – and new Technical Degrees so apprentices can study up to degree level skills.

More university degrees which cost less to study.

A jobs guarantee for the under 25s so no-one is ever again left to languish on the dole.

A minimum wage at £8 an hour and a ban on exploitative zero hours contracts.

And action to build 200,000 homes a year by 2020 so you stand a chance of getting a place to call your own once more.

These are the changes we WILL make if we’re elected next year and they’re changes that will put government back on your side once more.

ANGER AND OPTIMISM

You might call this an action plan for optimism.

It’s definitely a plan to put government behind you – not against you – once more.

It’s a plan that’ll help you build a future for all of us.

I feel so strongly about this because growing up in Harlow taught me that in politics you need more than anger.

You need optimism.

Here in Harlow I learnt most of the lessons that lasted me a lifetime.

My Mum and Dad came here in the 1970s.

They were drawn by a sense of idealism.

When I talk to my Dad about why he came, he said what he loved about Harlow was that it was a leap of faith.

A new town, built by a can-do spirit.

Our grandparents founded this town while we still had rationing.

It didn’t stop them.

Couples came from the bombed out East End in search of a job and a home and somewhere to raise a family and build a new future.

They were pioneers.

And great public servants like my mum and dad came because they wanted to help build around those families a strong community.

Like the sports scene that gave us one of the best local football leagues where Glen Hoddle, the most famous Burnt Mill boy trained.

Or the arts scene that grew-up around the Playhouse.

Or the incredible voluntary sector that gave the town a real sense of compassion in action.

My mum and dad wanted to part of that great effort to build a better place where people could get on.

A town of ambition and aspiration and compassion in action.

When I was growing up here there was a lot of anger about the government that seemed determined to divide working people.

Everyday I used to hear my parents talk about how tough it was doing their best when the government was cutting everything so hard.

From them I learned my sense of compassion and anger at injustice – and that’s what inspired me to join Harlow Labour party when I was 15.

But back in the 80s, we also had a sense of optimism and aspiration.

Optimism born of a confidence that things can be better.

And that’s what I came to see was the most important thing of all.

But when people give up hope they turn to extremists – as they did in our country back in the 1930s – and which many are doing again today

Today I serve one of the youngest constituencies in Britain.

Everything I learned in politics has taught me that right now, there isn’t anyone better to inspire us than you.

But our job in politics is to match your optimism with a plan.

Practical idealism.

That’s what the builders of Harlow had back in the 1940s.

They had a vision of a better country.

Not just for some.

But for all.

Those dreamers built this town.

They built this school.

And they built a better, richer, fairer country.

A country where people could build better lives.

As they did here in this town.

Today we need to rediscover the optimism, the idealism and the impatience of the people who built this school and built this town,

That is how futures are really built.

That’s how you will build once again a greater Britain.

 

My statement on the government’s apprenticeship numbers: just more smoke and mirrors – 9th December 2014

Responding to Vince Cable’s announcement on apprenticeship numbers, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Universities, Science and Skills Liam Byrne MP said:

“Today’s announcement is just more smoke and mirrors from ministers. We need more top quality apprenticeships and more opportunities for young people. But we’ve had the exact opposite under this government as we’ve seen apprenticeship starts for young people – and apprenticeship starts overall – fall in the last academic year, while the Tory-led government has opposed Labour’s plans to use government procurement to create thousands of new high-quality apprenticeship opportunities.”

Notes:

1. The government’s provisional statistics on apprenticeships show that the number of opportunities for under 25s numbers has fallen compared to the previous year. The figures also showed that the total of apprenticeship starts has also fallen from 2013.

2. Today just 16,000 out of 640,000 apprenticeships reach degree level skills. Since 2010 there are now 17,000 fewer apprenticeships for under-19 year olds.

#InclusiveGrowth14 – No Place Left Behind: A debate on the future for regional growth with Lord Heseltine and Lord Adonis, chaired by Katja Hall of the CBI – 2 December 2014

 

Dear friends,

 

I am delighted to share news of this afternoon’s inaugral conference of the APPG on Inclusive Growth.

 

The day before an Autumn Statement expected to be full of announcements on regional development and growth Michael Heseltine and Andrew Adonis, the two leading advocates of regional and local devolution, regional growth and business engagement discussed the topic of regional growth – chaired by the brilliant Katja Hall, Deputy Director of the CBI.

 

The debate continued on twitter at #inclusivegrowth14

 

You can still view a video of the debate here: www.policyreview.tv/video/1000/7715

 

It’s well worth a watch!

 

After the debate we were joined by Sir Bob Kerslake, head of the Civil Service for a number of private seminars on a range of topics.

 

Today was the inaugural event of the APPG on Inclusive Growth.

 

The All Party Group on Inclusive Growth brings together senior politicians from across the main parties to discuss Britain’s economic future.

 

In July 2014 a cross-party group was set up to establish the All Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth. The APPG is now working with business, finance, trade unions, faith groups and civil society with the aim of forging a new consensus on reform of markets.

 

For more information about the APPG on Inclusive Growth please visit our website here: www.inclusivegrowth.co.uk

 

I have enclosed some photos of today’s event below.

 

With all best wishes

 

Liam

 

 Adonis, Katja Hall, Heseltine 2 Adonis, Katja Hall, Heseltine Bob Kerslake 3 Break Out Groups LB and Bob Kerslake LB at Inclusive Growth Liam and Speakers at IG Lord Adonis Michael Heseltine

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