Discussions regarding the future of care have focused heavily around the elderly. However disabled people are also at the heart of this matter, especially disabled students.

Over the past two years the NUS Disabled Students Committee has conducted research into personal care needs for students within Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE). Similar issues have also been highlighted by charities such as SKILL and Trailblazers.

The current care system, based on a post-code lottery, is failing disabled students. NUS FE research indicates that disabled students who need personal care continually re-apply for courses within their institution, acting as a form of social care.

NUS case studies gathered from HE indicate similar themes. When students leave their home residence to study, they often move from one Local Authority (LA) to another. Constant ‘personal care funding battles’ often arise between Social Services, LAs and universities leaving disabled students in difficult situations. In some cases disabled students are dissuaded from attending university by Social Services due to the expensive funding costs needed to meet their needs. Accounts from the University of Manchester demonstrate stories such as Social workers indicating that funding care was outside their remit and that studying from home would be the only suitable option. Another case demonstrated that due to a lack of care provided to a student, he was unable to finish his desired course. In turn, he was unable to access work and was nearly made homeless.

Parents of disabled students worry due to these issues often persuading their child to stay at home so that they can personally provide the care, whilst studying, resulting in lack of choice for students which have knock on effects on mental health.

This needs to STOP. How? The National Care Service would enable a student with flexibility and choice. When students move from one LA to another, they would not need constant reassessments for care, unless there was a change circumstances. This has positive long-term effects for employability options too. It is time that disabled students needing personal care receive the same freedom and choice as to where and how to study as their non-disabled peers.

Today the Liberal Democrats and Labour Party are holding an emergency conference about the funding proposal discrepancies regarding the future of care and the National Care Service. The Conservatives have disagreed vastly with the proposed funding option resulting with them not attending the conference. Funding is a major issue with the proposed idea and whatever the verdict, everybody will be affected. People need to decide how this system is to be funded. Disabled students’ lives are compromised without this service and the situation needs to be rectified. With the General Election coming up this year, it is vital for there to be some agreement between the parties about the care service. Political parties need to stop playing childish games and begin to work together to provide disabled students equal rights and choices when it comes to education.

What do you think the National Care Service should be for? Do you want to share your experience of being involved in campaigning, your thoughts on an issue that matters to you? Get in touch with me now at


In 2007, Sao Paulo’s Clean City Law outlawed billboard advertising and blitzed the electronic ads, shop signs and street banners that once littered a beautiful, edgy and complicated city. Eight thousand hoardings have been done away with so far, with more to go. Those who disobey the law can be fined more than £3,500 per offending site and in its first year, the law brought to the city nearly £15m in fines. In Brazil, the law has been hailed by writer Roberto Pompeu de Toledo as ‘a rare victory of the public interest over private, of order over disorder, aesthetics over ugliness, of cleanliness over trash, and for once, all that is accustomed to coming out on top in Brazil has lost’.

Indeed, closer to home, it is evident that what underpins the invisible hand of the market is the grasping, poisonous tentacles of advertising: gaudy, sprawling billboards splattered indiscriminately across our finest British towns and cities; The Apprentice-style, hard-sell marketing techniques puncturing and deflating a rich, bustling, modern British culture at every other turn - from our football stadiums to our mobile phones; and perhaps most distastefully of all, piercing, all-consuming junk-food adverts, jingles and hooks being pummelled directly into British children (one in three children is now obese or overweight and Government studies now predict that the majority of children will be overweight or obese by 2050). The money and effort spent on warning about the dangers of alcohol abuse is undercut by £800 million a year spent by drinks companies on alcohol advertising, much of which is aimed knowingly and directly at British youths.

Reading about the Clean City Law got me thinking about David Lammy MP's absorbing article on youth crime and culture in the New Statesman towards the end of 2008, which struck a chord with many people, one way or another. Some of the issues he laid bare should be explored further by Labour on a much larger and more detailed scale.

At the heart of Lammy’s thesis was the notion of a ‘culture of instant gratification’ contributing to a crisis amongst British youths and, in particular, younger, British males - reflected by statistics on school grades, suicide rates and the percentage of men who make up those people in custody. Whilst much of Lammy’s approach was notable, this notion of a ‘culture of instant gratification’ had a particularly enduring resonance:

"And, in this post-Thatcherite generation more than any other, young men struggle to control their own emotions. An inability to delay gratification - whether with food, alcohol, money or sex - is becoming a hallmark of our age, reinforced by advertising and media (by the age of ten, the average British child recognises nearly 400 brand names)."

Lammy subsequently suggested the UK is failing miserably to provide Britain's teenage boys with meaningful occupations, worthy role models or hope for the future. Although Labour is leading the fight against crime, with overall crime – including violent crime – down by almost 40 per cent since 1997, he pinpointed a ‘bling culture’ that encourages young British males to pursue crime as a desperate short cut to wealth in the face of a rapidly changing economy which no longer places a premium on manual jobs - old images and expressions of masculinity are disappearing from society and the relationship between men and their work has undergone a revolution.

With climate change threatening to spiral out of control and with Britain looking to recover from a long, deep recession – an aching hangover from a sickly culture driven by reckless consumer spending, financial extravagance and personal debt – the spotlight must now be placed on our ‘culture of instant gratification’, and our failure, regardless of age or social strata, to live within our means.

Reclaiming the British civic space is an area where Labour must lead the way. It should not be left to other parts of the world, like Sao Paulo, to take a lead on cleansing social spheres and spaces for the better: Looking ahead, one thing is certain - the shrunken, miniature state, two-faced, Thatcherite ideology and airbrushed reality being pushed by ‘Cast Iron’ Dave means that he is powerless to lend a hand.

First posted here

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Do you want to share your experience of being involved in campaigning, your thoughts on an issue that matters to you? Get in touch with me now at


At our session at Progressive London, we ask you which ideas you wanted us to campaign on youth unemployment and how you wanted to campaign on this.

We also invited a cracking line up of speakers who are organising for young people right across the country - Sam Tarry, Hope not Hate Organiser and Chair of Young Labour, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Black Students’ Officer for NUS, Mercury Music Award Winner – Speech Debelle, Rowenna Davis, Journalist at Guardian, Independent & Headliners and
Nizam Uddin, President of University of London Union who pitched his message to young people taking part.

"Firstly, thank you to Progressive London for inviting me to speak at the conference; it’s an absolute honour to be here in front of you today. It’s truly comforting to see an initiative being taken in addressing key issues that otherwise might go unheard, especially in an election year where common sense seems to be replaced by political malleability on the part of some of our leaders.

I am here both as the President of the University of London Union and as a Young Londoner, and I come to tell you about the bleak story of our Higher Education Sector, and how making the wrong choice at the ballot box this May will take us down a very narrow, winding road with very little room for a U-turn, potentially causing further misery on many young Londoners.

It was recently announced that Higher Education faces the prospect of £915m worth of cuts, part of cost-cutting measures to help mitigate the public deficit. The impact this will have is the possible closure of up to 30 Universities, where some of our most vulnerable students study, and job losses potentially totalling 14,000 people, with some even estimating that further cuts could total £2.5bn over the course of the next three years. Some of these planned cuts have already been announced in some of London’s biggest universities, including Kings College and UCL, which aptly demonstrates the severity of the situation.

Now I want to say ‘I’m no economist’ but having studied half an Economics Degree, I feel I can use my half vocation to conclude this to be a pretty bad idea, and one that would bring ‘one of the world’s greatest education systems to its knees’.

Surely coming out of the trough of a recession we should be investing in our most powerful capital, the very people that will be the drivers of our future growth. This model of investment in essential public services is not new, and one we need to be following, for society as a whole benefits from an educated and skilled workforce.

An example of this might be that targeting people from the most deprived areas of London to attend university will enable them to experience the richness of culture, religion and diversity that London’s universities have to offer and as such make transparent the ignorant and racist ill-informed views of parties such as the BNP.

It’s for reasons such as this and more we should be targeting for even higher a figure than the 50% target placed by the Government of young people to be in Higher Education. There is a marked difference between pushing people to go to University and encouraging and creating maintained opportunities for young people to go on to higher education.

New students going into Higher Education currently face the prospect of walking into a perfect storm of sweeping cuts, which will inevitably damage their student experience, whilst at the very same time being asked for more money to fund their education.

The current ‘Independent’ review into Higher Education Funding will no doubt make sure of that increase. Headed by Lord Browne of Madingely, a former head of BP, with representation from other key business areas as well as two Vice- Chancellors, both of whom head up research- intensive institutions’, and finally topped off with a non- accountable student representative, it is widely expected that Lord Browne’s findings will recommend a raise of up to £7,000 in undergraduate tuition fees. This will, coincidentally off course, be in line with what a CBI Report recommended in September 2009.

This regressive marketised approach is counter-productive, working only to create a two- tier Higher Education system and paralysing social mobility for many, especially when considered in the context of superfluous public expenditure in projects and areas which most certainly don’t prioritise over our country’s education system.

Having painted that grim picture of Higher Education, it saddens me to think how young people will be even greatly affected than they already are, should all of those scenarios decide to play out.

Currently, we have nearly a million young people unemployed. We have graduates being churned out of University into a dismally bleak graduate market, so much so that a recent survey of small and medium enterprises showed how 89% of them have not employed a graduate in the past year, and they would continue not to do so in the recession.

We then have a situation where organisations are capitalising on this over- abundance of skilled labour, exploiting eager graduates and recruiting them as interns, not paying them a wage for longer than they probably should.

So how do we go about changing this? How do we hammer home to the next government that this minimalist Ikea approach to education funding is not on? That this disproportionate suffering of young people who played no part in causing the recession is not on?

Personally, as a staunch advocate of civic participation, I believe the most powerful tool in our arsenal is ourselves and our votes. It is not the biggest secret in the world that voter apathy reigns amongst the 18-24 age group, with only 37% voting in the last General Election in 2005, whilst in comparison there was a 75% turnout for the over 65s. Any student of politics, and I mean in the basic watching BBC News sense, knows political parties will be unwilling to make unpopular decisions against a core section of its electorate. We as young people are not in that core, and we need to be.

If there are important issues that we care about, and we don’t vote, why should our elected representatives care? It’s the unfortunate nature of our current democratic structures that the popular vote wins. In 2009, the youth of London need to mobilise their vote and truly become a stakeholder in influencing policy.

We need to stamp our vision for a Higher Education system that prioritises quality over value for money, society before the economy and students as stakeholders rather than consumers."

Want to get involved in our campaign on youth unemployment All Doled Up. What will you pledge?

1. Join the campaign
2. Come to our events
3. Tell us your idea


Hello and hope you all had a good festive period despite the cold.

We have scheduled the next South London Compass meeting for:

Tuesday 16th February 2010 7.30 p.m. at the same venue the DOG STAR pub on COLDHARBOUR LANE, BRIXTON. The meeting will be on the top floor – please go inside the pub and then take the stairs to the left just after the bar.

Obviously the hope is that as many people as possible can make this date. Of course if a large number can’t then we can rearrange although we would like to avoid this if at all possible. Therefore I would be really grateful if you could reply to this email with an indication as to whether or not you are able to come.

Looking forward to seeing you all again – I will send an agenda around nearer the time. In the meantime I have included the email which followed the last meeting below.

Warm regards


Next steps for the group - before the next meeting we agreed to research issues identified and present an analysis of the electoral situation. In particular we were going to investigate housing and in particular the question of empty properties in the local borough and whether or not freedom of information requests should be made and if so to which boroughs likewise with council procurement and possible small scale environmental campaigns like plastic bags etc that we could use to attract interest to the group and establish green credentials, something that was important to all member of the group.”

Campaigning for Chukka with Compass Youth: Do we want to do the following?

When: Saturday 20th February 12.30 - 6pm

Sign-up link:

Where: Meet 12.30 -1.00 at Perfect Blend Cafe in Streatham.

What we'll do:

Join CU campaigning in the afternoon. Discuss developing campaign ideas to tackle youth unemployment with CU after campaigning. Move to the pub for drinks and a fun evening in South London

Selecting a local campaign: should we now focus on one local campaign? If so which one and in what manner?


Our generation gets stereotyped as always wanting instant gratification, pessimistic that everything's wrong with the world and apathetic that they can't change it because those in power won't listen to them anyway.

But there are so many everyday heroes off the radar of opinion leaders who work in the shadows trying to creating positive change in their communities, maybe even where you live or work. Our young posties are at the heart of that change and that's why we're so pleased to share with you exclusively a podcast they did with us.

Do you think it's outrageous why the "little guy always pays for the crisis"? Do you want to share your experience of being involved in campaigning, your thoughts on an issue that matters to you? Get in touch with me now at


Why do we have to pay the price for their crisis? When they want to charge us more to get into university and get housing? While they carry on slashing our pay, our jobs and our services. It's time to fight the recession. It's time to take back our future.

London is a unique city faced with unique needs, especially in the economic crisis. It’s one of the richest cities in the world, one of the most unequal and one of the most vibrant. It is also the youngest population in the UK and it will continue to become younger with new people moving in.

Many communities in the capital often have to meet their own needs to cope and get by, often with a creativity and faith that knows no borders.

What makes London different? What unique needs do young Londoners face with the recession? How can we tap into that vibrancy to support people getting together to help each other? How can young Londoners turn this shift into a power shift?

That's why we organised the session on young people at the economic crisis in what was a packed conference just before a really tasty lunch. We discussed and crowdsourced ideas on just that. We also invited a cracking line up of speakers who are organising for young people right across the country:

As well as the Mercury Music Award Winner - Speech Debelle!

Unlike other debates, we wanted the audience to be the stars of the show. So we gave the speakers a sharp five minutes to pitch their message to the participants.

@speechdebelle at the conference, must speak for 5minutes about 'young people and the economic crisis..i have notes

So we got them to get into a dozen groups to discuss what they thought of the ideas put forward by the speakers but more importantly what issues they faced as young people and what ideas they wanted us to campaign on and they didn't fail to deliver:

@josephlaking: At the @compassyouth session on youth unemployment at #ProLondon10 conference - inspiring ideas and pertinent issues being raised.

So what did they want?

  1. Fair pay. Many groups wanted an equalisation of the minimum wage, some even calling for a living wage. They also wanted stronger regulation of youth job schemes, such as apprenticeships and internships.

  1. Better support. Several groups wanted young people out of work to be better supported, from meaningful careers advice to build confidence, travel grants to even creating a union for volunteers and the unemployed. People definitely wanted spaces for young people to reinvest their confidence and skills in, such as summer schools.

  1. Creative investment. With the threat of cuts, groups put forward innovative ways of funding these proposals, such as lobbying companies to use their corporate social responsibility budgets. Others wanted to lift young people out of income tax and remove National Insurance contributions from employers recruiting young people.

As @Fio_edwards summed up “investment not cuts! Let's #invest in the future of this society by investing in young people at #HigherEducation”

Then we asked the speakers to tell us one idea they think we should really campaign on and would be a realistic campaign that could be won.

Rowenna Davis proposed that all internships in the public sector should be paid the minimum wage. Sam Tarry argued that we should equalise the minimum wage for all young people. Speech Debelle championed more civic space. Bell Addy-Ribeiro spoke out in favour of free education, while Nizam Uddin supported the call for a living wage.

@GabriellaJ: Speech Debelle says it's the perfect time for government to invest in young people who want instant success at @ProLondon

@SamTarry Buzzing ideas in @compassyouth session at #proLDN conference on youth unemployment: - hope some radical empowering campaigns come out of it!

@EllieCRobinson great day, esp. the very practical youth session this morning. now let's go out and make some waves

The audience issued a challenge for how as young campaigners can work better together. Ideas are nothing without action. But together we can build the London we want to see. Rowenna Davis has given some tips for how we act in the media, but how do you think we should organise between young campaigners?

Want to get involved in our campaign on youth unemployment All Doled Up. What will you pledge?

1. Join the campaign
2. Come to our events
3. Tell us your idea


We've got a Lord who runs the agency regulating financial services supporting the iconic Tobin Tax pledge of the anti globalisation movement. And now we’ve got the conservative duo Sarkozy and Merkel making the running to tame excessive pay and bonuses in banks.

I never realised there were on our side! And then I realised they tried to convince us they were when they expalined how the excessive greed of the other “masters of the universe” was somehow contributing to the economy. “Yes we can” they all must have said when they gave themselves bigger and bigger bonuses, higher and higher pay.

So it does feel slightly strange that many people now applaud the Establishment for calling for policies which were deemed too radical when those less in thrawl to the City called for them?

Well in the real world, the "have nots" have just realised that we've been taking over the responsibility of the risks of the "have yachts". Why can Wall Street implement measures that we were ridiculed for proposing them before it got any worse?

When we warned that the financial sectors' ability to avoid taxation probably affects social cohesion more than a teenager spraying graffiti on your wall? Would we have been more credible if it had been the "too big to fail" City saying this rather than the social democratic left?

But let's move beyond the "we told you so" (we did..he did even earlier) and the "I believed this all along" (but didn't act on it?) and look at proposals to get us out of this mess. What about a tax on currency transactions?

OK but how do we this in practice given how complex and different tax structures are in each country? How about a Robin Hood Tax?

What's the Robin Hood Tax? It taxes currency conversions in foreign exchange markets which reduces the incentives to speculate in the short term. How does this add up?

Given the turnover in these markets is around $3.2tn, even if you went for a very cautious 0.05% tax, you would create a revenue of at least $400bn a year. But won't the financial sector complain about this new tax? Are they complaining about the money the taxpayer is bailing them out with?

What do we do with that money? We could start by using it to help insure our residents from life risks. And then we could making the system more transparent. We could stop the "double shuffle" strategy of humanising the market with one hand and deregulating it with the other. "Whatever it takes".

Now that doesn't sound too radical does it?

Just a tiny tax on banks could have huge impacts on the poorest people in society both here and abroad. You should support the Robin Hood Tax too!


Do you want to help campaign to fight youth unemployment?

Do you want to campaign with young people for progressive politics where you are?

Crunch time - what's happening

The number of 16 to 24-year-olds out of work is now 952,000 - the highest figure since records began. We’re in a down turn, but we refuse to believe we’ve crashed.

We’re the upside of down and it’s up to us to take action. Working with you, Compass Youth are developing a campaign that’s going to be led by you to start the bounce back.

Who's been queuing up?

Over the last six months, young people across the country from universities, youth groups, schools, graduates on the street and people in the job centre have been listening to each other and developing ideas for that we’ll then act on to make change happen.

We want your support in Barking & Dagenham

Whatever your background or situation we believe you’ve got a voice and the ability to act. Young people have come together across the country and now we’re bringing people together in Streatham on 20th February between 12.30-6pm to campaign on youth unemployment and for progressive politics.

1. Kick off with lunch at the cafe before going campaigning in the afternoon with Chuka Umunna.

2. Discuss developing campaign ideas to tackle youth unemployment with Chuka.

3. Move to the pub for drinks and a fun evening in South London!


1. Sign up now

2. Bring along three of your friends

3. Come along!

Where: Meet 12.30 at Perfect Blend Cafe in Streatham - see the map here.


Major organisations representing or working with young people have joined together with campaign group One Society to call for a more equal society. Social welfare charities, student groups and the youth wings of a range of trade unions and parties are calling for policies that would close the gap between rich and poor. Reducing income inequality would improve social mobility and the quality of life for all young people, across the social spectrum.

The joint letter (available at is a response to the recent National Equality Panel’s report, and to the continuing economic challenges facing young people. The letter highlights how the young are disproportionately bearing the costs of the recession and recovery, especially compared with those at the top whose have seen their incomes and wealth vastly increase over the past thirty years.

The letter has been co-ordinated by One Society – a new campaign to highlight the negative effects of income inequality and promote policies which would narrow the gap between rich and poor.

Today, Demos publishes three One Society pamphlets which recommend a major set of policy proposals to tackle inequality. One Society will be using this menu of policy options to show that a more equal society is possible, plausible and credible – there are different routes to get there, and significant steps can be made by politicians straight away.

Malcolm Clark, One Society’s campaign director, said:

Income inequality matters. Young people, already hit hard by the recession and bearing the costs of the recovery, are doubly disadvantaged as they have come of age in a more unequal society than previous generations.”

“The good news is that inequality is not inevitable, and can be reversed. Government policy can make a big difference. That is why a wide range of different organisations have joined calls for politicians of all parties to quickly get to grips with the issue and implement policies that will close the gap.”

Young people want to live in a cohesive society which enables them to fulfill their potential and benefits all - the One Society that we’d all like to be part of.”

Media Contacts:

Malcolm Clark, campaign director of One Society, can be contacted on (t) 020 7922 7921 (m) 07733322148, by email or via Twitter @One_Society

The individual signatories to the letter can be contacted for comment via their own organisations.

Notes to editors:

1. One Society is a new campaign, set up in association with The Equality Trust, to highlight the negative effects of income inequality, showcase research and policy solutions, and bring together people and organisations in support of a more equal society.

2. One Society believes that a larger divide, in wealth and power, between those at the very top and the rest of society is damaging to national well being. More equal societies work better for everyone; not just those at the bottom but right the way up: we all benefit.

3. Demos has published three One Society pamphlets making a case for why addressing inequality is important for the three main political parties. The pamphlets are available from ompelling evidence shows that large income inequalities within societies damage the social fabric and quality of life for everyone. The evidence is published in Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett's book The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better.

4. The joint letter originated from initial discussions at the Young people and the Economic Crisis session at Progressive London conference on 30 January 2010.

The Letter / Statement:

The National Equality Panel’s report published at the end of January confirmed what young people experience in their daily lives: a struggle to fulfil their potential and overcome the physical, social and psychological barriers that a more unequal society presents. The impact of the recession, disproportionately borne by the young, has exacerbated the damaging effects of growing up in a society marked by an increased and persisting gap between rich and poor. Employment, internships and now even higher education opportunities are becomingly increasingly difficult to access. Our backgrounds embed “deep seated and systematic differences” which can prevent many from fulfilling their potential. The negative effects of inequality are felt beyond any one class or section of society: mental and physical health problems are widespread; crime, bullying, and lack of trust affect many young people.

These issues cannot be tackled in isolation. The National Equality Panel's report is a reminder that the answer to reducing inequality is not confined just to helping those at the bottom while those at the top are left to accrue ever-larger salaries and wealth. The people that hold most responsibility for the recession should be bearing the costs of recovery. The same principle should also apply to those whose incomes rose disproportionately over the past thirty years compared to the rest of society.

If we are to succeed in tackling the big challenges this country faces, we need to rebuild a society that is cohesive, resilient and benefits all - the One Society that we’d like to be part of. The report made clear that income inequality matters, is not inevitable, and can be reversed. That is why we are calling for politicians to act now and put in place policies that will close the gap between rich and poor.


Noel Hatch, Compass Youth (chair)
Matt Dykes, TUC (youth policy officer)
Susan Nash, NUS (vice-president, society and citizenship)
Liam Purcell, Church Action on Poverty (communications manager)
Jane Slowey, Foyer Federation (chief executive)
Patrick Vernon, Afiya Trust (chief executive)
Titus Alexander, Novas Scarman Group (head of learning and campaigns)
Emma Corbett, social worker
David Babbs, 38 Degrees
Dominic Potter, Internocracy (director)
Max Freedman, Unite parliamentary branch (chair)
Sam Tarry, Young Labour (chair)
Joe Rinaldi Johnson, Liberal Youth (vice-chair, communications)
Joseph Russo, Co-operative Party Youth (secretary)
Rowenna Davis, freelance journalist
Ben Little, lecturer, Middlesex University


At our session at Progressive London, we ask you which ideas you wanted us to campaign on youth unemployment and how you wanted to campaign on this.

We also invited
a cracking line up of speakers who are organising for young people right across the country - Sam Tarry, Hope not Hate Organiser and Chair of Young Labour, Nizam Uddin, President of University of London Union, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Black Students’ Officer for NUS, Mercury Music Award Winner – Speech Debelle and Rowenna Davis, Journalist at Guardian, Independent & Headliners.

Here's what Rowenna advised young activists on how to campaign on youth unemployment.

"As a facilitator I don’t feel it’s my place to impose a particular campaign on you, but I wanted to offer you three pointers that I think good campaigns to tackle youth unemployment will build on. I’m particularly interested in what might get you coverage in this rather cynical media industry that I work in.

Make the most of the numbers

One in five young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) is an absolutely shocking statistic. It sticks in people’s minds, it’s easy to repeat to friends and it reminds us that all young people are facing this problem now – not just those in a particular group.

As a bit of an example, I had to do an article the other day about NEETs and I put the word out that I needed interviewees. I got some guy’s number and an incredibly upper class male answered the phone. I asked him if he was a NEET. “By Jove!” he said, “Golly, I do believe I am.” What I’m trying to say is – we’re all NEET now.

Highlight the cost of doing nothing

We always here about the cost of action, but the cost of inaction is often much higher. Already youth unemployment is costing us an estimated £500m a year in benefits, not to mention an untold amount in foregone earnings. If you’re NEET, you’re more likely to be engaged in crime, and if you’re female and NEET, you’re 22 times more likely to undergo teenage pregnancy.

There is also evidence to suggest that youth unemployment has particularly high costs – it’s the worst age to be unemployed. A gap on your CV after 10 years of work looks like bad luck, but a gap straight after education? It looks terrible. It can also have particularly bad effects on a young person’s self esteem – they don’t have so many past successes to prop up their confidence.

Find the power inequalities in society

The third and final point is a little different. It’s where I put my lefty hat on. If you want to solve youth unemployment, you have to locate it in the broader context of power inequalities in society. Despite my earlier reference to the “middle class NEET”, youth unemployment still disproportionately effects the poorest in our society.

Young NEETs are twice as likely to live in social sector housing, and their parents have a 15% chance of having higher educational qualifications as compared to 40% in the general public. NEETs are twice as likely to have caring responsibilities, and they’re more likely to have learning disabilities.

Any solutions to youth unemployment we put forward should take account of these power inequalities, and help solve them. It’s not about shoe horning all young people into the nearest job – we need to look at who is getting what jobs where. At the moment, over 90% of the UK is state educated, but only 40% of our politicians; 14% of our journalists; 3% of our scientists and scholars and just 2% of our judges went to state school.

If your solution to youth unemployment is simply unpaid internships, you’ll never change this divide. Those at the bottom simply won’t be able to afford to participate.

These are incredibly deep and complicated problems, and I don’t pretend to have a fraction of the answers. I look forward to hearing what you and the other panel members have to say."
Rowenna Davis

Want to get involved in our campaign on youth unemployment All Doled Up. What will you pledge?

1. Join the campaign
2. Come to our events
3. Tell us your idea


Compass Oxford is a forum for debate committed to the goals of the democratic left at Oxford University. Its purpose is to fill a gap in the Oxford political landscape by offering a space for plural dialogue on the future of the left, born from the convictions that:

* Both Old Labour and New Labour have had their day.

* The future of the democratic left will only be as strong as its intellectual foundations.

The group seeks to act as a vessel by means of which the varied backgrounds and perspectives of the Oxford academic community can contribute to the necessary and inevitable debate on a new social contract for the 2010s, on a new ideological framework at the juncture between liberalism and socialism. It does not claim to offer definitive answers, but strives to open up new fields of debate by bringing together a cross-section of the democratic left, limited to no one political party or ideology. It also publishes a termly academic journal, the Oxford Left Review.

Compass Oxford is the campus branch of Compass Youth, an autonomous organisation within the pressure group and think tank, Compass. The principal object of Compass Youth is to promote debate and discussion of ideas and values, initially as set out in the Compass founding document, with a view to developing a programme for a progressive government.


We are pleased to announce that you can now register delegates for Disabled Students Conference. You can do this by clicking on the following link:

The NUS Disabled Students’ campaign conference is the largest gathering of disabled students and their representatives in the UK.

The annual conference enables disabled students to network and socialise together in a safe, secure environment. It also sets the policy, priorities and direction of the NUS Disabled Students’ campaign in a democratic environment. The conference holds the NUS disability representatives to account and elects new officers and committees to direct the work of the campaign over the year.

The event is free of charge for one disabled student representative from each Students’ Union in the UK. It is held at an accessible venue and this year will be from 1st to 3rd March 2010 in Manchester.

This year we are celebrating our 10th anniversary and the campaign is determined to double its participation. It is so important for the campaigns voice to get bigger and build on its successes in recent years. Therefore I urge you to register 1 delegate for free and maybe 1 or 2 observers (£250 each) so your union and your disabled students have a voice at national level and can learn about campaigns that they can bring back to your union.

Please note that the closing date for registration is the 12th February 2010 at 1pm.

Thank you so much for your support and please spread the word to anybody who you think will be interested in attending.

NUS Disabled Students’ Committee

If you have a progressive campaign you want us to showcase, email us now at


Not sure if Jason Cowley has a penchant for David Beckham but compare his descriptions of James Purnell and Jon Cruddas.
"He was wearing jeans and flip-flops and seemed extraordinarily at ease, less like the career politician he is than, say, a working actor between jobs, at large in his own hood."
"In person, hair cropped military-short at the sides and back, in rumpled, open-necked shirt and sleeveless sweater."
Let's leave the guy who used to be the most fashionable right get back in the England team and let's start with James Purnell. No one written off? Many benefits claimants know that when JP was Work and Pensions Secretary, he was always spot on at giving them free kicks where it hurt, telling them to work even if they were seriously ill. And even though his Blairite creed is definitely has been, we all know they keep making their comebacks. So, James, I'm honestly willing to take you at your word, when you say "I feel I've been released from prison," were all of your welfare reform policies forced upon you by GB and deep down it hurt you too knowing the impacts of the ESA on those who are the most vulnerable? And rather than penalising care, you would reward it? If that were really the case, then like the Welfare Reform Green Paper you drove through, I would also agree that even in politics, "No one is written off". Curl it like Cruddas Maybe what brings both Cruddas and Purnell together is that they've had enough of the very unbeautiful tribal game - "symptomatic of our insularity, of our hollowing out as a vibrant political force." Indeed, people don't listen any more to the rhetoric on local community that all parties bang on about, because what they see is supermarkets being allowed to crush any competition from local shops. They don't listen any more to the rhetoric on fairness when what they see are fat cats bailed out once again lapping up the caviar and champagne from their bonuses, while young people are forced to lap up the rhetoric on the age of austerity and accept pay cuts and job cuts. And they don't listen any more when faceless MPs who never rebel on our behalf just in case they get pushed off the greasy careerist pole, start rebelling to maintain their juicy perks. When we get MPs who'd rather get a windfall payout than continue to represent their local constituents, we know that the game's up for the politics of greed and envy. After all, why should MPs care about young people, when the only people they need to convince are "swing voters"? So when Cruddas say he is prepared to build coalitions across parties and more importantly civil society groups, it is refreshing and when he argues that "we should have an election around why the little guy is going to pick up the tab for the crisis." he nails it on the head.
“What matters is the real issues - of political economy, the future of social democracy, what's happening on the right . . . It's fair to say that Compass, myself and a few others will make sure that we have a contribution to make when the time comes."
We will indeed...


@jleather RT @GabriellaJ: Speech Debelle says it's the perfect time for government to invest in young people who want instant success at @ProLondon

@noelito I was facilitating the @compassyouth #prolondon session on youth unemployment which was packed with people...and ideas!

@speechdebelle at the conference, must speak for 5minutes about 'young people and the economic crisis..i have notes

@josephlaking: At the @compassyouth session on youth unemployment at #ProLondon10 conference - inspiring ideas and pertinent issues being raised.

@Fio_edwards investment not cuts! Let's #invest in the future of this society by investing in young people at #HigherEducation. #ProLondon Conf, 30th jan

@SamTarry Buzzing ideas in @compassyouth session at #proLDN conference on youth unemployment: - hope some radical empowering campaigns come out of it!

@EllieCRobinson great day, esp. the very practical youth session this morning. now let's go out and make some waves


We know how important the campaign for Londoners to be paid the living wage is. We produced a toolkit to help our activists make this happen where they study and work.

The London Living Wage (LLW) is a London weighted minimum wage, which takes into account the higher living costs of London. The figure currently stands at £7.60 per hour; £1.87 above the National Minimum Wage. Since its launch back in 2001, the campaign has put an estimated £24 million back in the pockets of low-waged workers.

We praise councils and public sector agencies across London who are paying the living wage to young people on work placements supported by the Future Jobs Fund.

We call for this to be extended to all work placements, including internships and apprenticeships.

Organisations such as the London Development Agency, London Youth, the ippr and the Seventeen Group are blazing the trail by paying interns the living wage.

Even the organisation that represents recruiters concedes that ideally an intern should receive "the London living wage (where applicable)".

So what we are waiting for? Shouldn't we start campaigning for all young people in London to get paid the living wage?

Want to get involved in our campaign on youth unemployment All Doled Up. What will you pledge?

1. Join the campaign
2. Come to our events
3. Tell us your idea