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Tuesday, 6 December 2011

£4 million to help unemployed or?

As was pointed out on thisisjersey,com the caption should read
'Employment - Our Highest Priority'
A few days ago the first initiative of Ian Gorst's reign was announced, an 'Action Plan For Jobs'. This coincided neatly with a new initiative in the United Kingdom by the Liberal Democrat party.

The reaction of the UK press was 'well it didn't work in the 80's so why are we repeating our mistake?'.

So what is businesses reactions to such schemes?

Most large businesses have a reasonably high turnover of staff, people leave and new people are being employed constantly, so instead of re-employing they will now take on subsidised employees in line with the government program - net effect a subsidy to the business.

At the end of the six month period, the business faces such a harsh regulatory environment that if there is not absolute certainty that the person will be able to complete the role successfully then they will terminate the contract before the person 'qualifies' for the statutory 'protections'. To train someone to be able to do a job properly without supervision takes about two years and in some trades far longer.

For smaller businesses there is no advantage, but for larger businesses who can afford to take on twenty staff in the expectation that one or two may prove suitable for the longer term it is a great bonus.

I do not know which companies are going to use the scheme but I suspect that it will be Sandpiper. Sandpiper have a high turnover of staff anyway so this will just be a £4 million subsidy, which will not achieve the objectives of the government or serve the Island in any way in the longer term.

The phrase 'blank cheque' is a key point; blank cheque is 'enough rope to hang yourself'. If Ian Gorst fails to deliver then questions about why the money was wasted will inevitably fail. Ian Gorst must of course fail as you cannot simply create jobs that do not exist, except in Government 'make work' jobs.

'He will triumph who knows when to act and when not to act'

I believe that Ian Gorst genuinely wants to tackle the problem and fulfil his election promises and you cannot criticise him for that; but good intentions are not enough, you need workable solutions - the only workable solutions are cutting regulation, cutting taxation and cutting back on government.

Ian is either trapped in the false notion that Government can provide solutions or we are back to costly publicity stunts at our expense.

'Statistical solutions' which will give an illusion of success including - encouraging emigration, increased numbers of students, back to work programs, increased numbers of long term sick - only affect the statistics not the problem. But in this era of politicians 'kicking the can down the road' and avoiding having to personally make the right choices and risk losing their incomes, I fear that Ian will simply take the easy way out, the way which will not risk losing his seat, and doctor the stats.