Forget Britain’s Got Talent, according to a local Labour councillor: “Brighton’s lost talent!”
The claim comes from Councillor Warren Morgan in the wake of the latest unemployment figures in remarks made yesterday when the Britain’s Got Talent live tour came to the Brighton Centre.
Councillor Morgan, Labour’s economic development spokesman, called on the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government to repeat last year’s bank bonus tax.
He said that the proceeds should be used to help create 100,000 much-needed jobs for unemployed young people.
Youth unemployment currently stands at almost a million which means that one in five young people are unable to find work.
He said that nearly 4,500 young people are unemployed in Brighton and Hove alone.
He said that youth unemployment had risen sharply during the worldwide recession caused by the irresponsible actions of the banks.
But a year ago, he said, thanks to Labour’s youth jobs programme, it was starting to fall steadily.
One of the first things that coalition government did, he said, was to scrap Labour’s youth jobs guarantee.
Now more young people are looking for work than when Labour left office.
In the area covered by Brighton and Hove City Council 6,111 people were claiming jobseeker’s allowance in May. This is a small rise on the 6,075 total for April which was the lowest this year.
The recent peak was 7,817 in January last year, with the number having climbed from 4,228 in November 2007.
In May, men accounted for 4,037 of the total and women 2,074.
The May total represents 3.4 per cent of the working age population in Brighton and Hove. The proportion is higher than the 2.5 per cent claiming jobseeker’s allowance across the South East but lower than the national average of 3.7 per cent.
The figures are also broken down by parliamentary constituencies. The three constituencies for Brighton and Hove cover a slightly larger area than that served by the city council. In two of the constituencies the claimant count rose slightly.
Brighton Kemptown includes the whole of Saltdean as well as Peacehaven. In May 2,181 people of working age living in the constituency were claiming jobseeker’s allowance. The proportion, at 3.8 per cent, was marginally higher than the national average of 3.7 per cent.
In April the figure was 2,182.
In Brighton Pavilion 2,135 people of working age, or 3.1 per cent, were claiming jobseekers’ allowance. In April the figure was 2,122.
In Hove the number was 2,125 people, or 3.3 per cent, compared with 2,092 in April.
Councillor Morgan said: “Putting young people on the dole is not just a waste of talent but it’s a waste of money too.
“Failing to get Britain back to work fast enough is helping to push up the benefits bill by over £12 billion – that’s £500 for every household in Brighton and Hove.
“We need to act now to stop another lost generation of young people – like in the 1980s when youth unemployment rose for four years after the recession was over.
“That’s why we need another fair tax on bank bonuses to get people off the dole and into work.
“It’s the best way to get the deficit down and stop Britain’s talent going to waste.
“The youth jobs fund could create up to 5,000 jobs in the South East alone.
“People can sign up to our campaign at www.britainslosttalent.co.uk.’’
The Labour opposition in the House of Commons is planning to propose an amendment to the Finance Bill this month although it has little chance of succeeding.
The amendment will call for last year’s £3.5 billion bank bonus tax to be repeated this year.
The party also wants a permanent bank levy.
The aim is to raise funds to create jobs and apprenticeships for young people, build more affordable homes and support small businesses.