John Biggs is the Labour London Assembly Member for City & East London
Today at City Hall’s budget debate we will present Labour’s alternative for London to the Mayor.
Boris’s record as Mayor is pathetic; he has failed to deliver any meaningful projects and has overseen cuts to London’s frontline emergency services.
He talks a good game and is adept at making speeches laying the blame for London’s problems at David Cameron’s door, but he has singularly failed to use the powers and resources at his command to improve life for ordinary Londoners.
Our budget amendment has three key aims: protect frontline police and fire services, ease the cost of living crisis and help young Londoners back to work.
This third policy is fully costed and would be implemented as follows.
Our plans would help get young Londoners into work and learn the lessons of past recessions by not creating a ‘lost generation’. Working closely with appropriate employers, the Jobs Guarantee would provide participants with 21 hours work per week paid at the London Living Wage.
As of December 2013, there were 7,455 16-24 year-olds in London who have been unemployed for more than 12 months. This proposal would see £35.6 million invested from April to finance the scheme, including wages and employer’s NI contributions.
The Jobs Guarantee makes sense in so many ways. Not only does it get people into work and give them valuable experience, it will also generate up to £27 million for the treasury through increased national insurance payments, reducing job seekers’ allowance payments and through the VAT generated by the purchase of consumer goods by participants of the scheme.
It is well documented that being unemployed when young can lead to long-term reductions in wages, increased chances of subsequent periods of unemployment and poorer health outcomes.
In addition the jobs guarantee will generate up to £54 million for the London regional economy through increased economic activity resulting from increased employment, to help counteract a culture of austerity economics that is now being questioned by institutions as mainstream as the International Monetary Fund.
We have a simple message for Boris: he is the Mayor of London, a great city of over eight million people with drive and determination. He should be standing up for Londoners and helping them during these difficult times.