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Friday, November 25, 2011 

Not quite back to the future.

Only a year and six months after his government abolished it in one of their first collective acts of vandalism, Nick Clegg has announced the reintroduction of the Future Jobs Fund. Except, naturally, it isn't quite the same. Whereas the scheme introduced by the Labour government had the whole £1bn in funding going towards providing jobs for six months, not just in the public sector as the Tories have tried erroneously to portray it but also in the private sector, Clegg's "youth contract scheme" is split between the exact same placement process of the FJF and providing 250,000 further work experience places. This will be very welcome if it does provide genuine work experience for those who previously haven't been able to find any sort of job, but if the examples being provided those currently going through the Work programme are anything to go by, it's a case of those who already have plenty of experience being essentially used as free labour by the retail sector.

As is also to be expected from the coalition, the £1bn has to be filched from somewhere else. Despite Clegg's wholly unconvincing denials, it looks as though most of it will come from freezing the working tax credit, or as it will be inevitably seen, playing one set of the low-paid off against those in even more dire straits. All this said, it as at least an improvement on the government's other plan for growth: making it even easier to err, sack people, something that only 6% of businesses regard as standing in their way.

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