I agree entirely with my right hon. Friend.
If anybody wants to know the consequences of youth unemployment—not just now, but in the future—they could do worse than look at the article headed “Future costs of youth unemployment” on the BBC business news website, which refers to an academic paper by
Paul Gregg and Lindsey Macmillan that sets out in great detail what happens to people who suffer from youth unemployment. It affects them for the rest of their lives, not only in terms of their jobs, but in terms of their incomes and everything else. It is not acceptable for us to sit in this House today and watch youth unemployment increasing to its current levels, which will disadvantage generations of people and their children, as well as the taxpayer, who will have to pay for it. I will not rehearse how much it will cost, but there will be a cost to the taxpayer—the cost to the individuals concerned will probably be far higher—that we should guard against.
I want to finish on this point. The Government’s ideology was about coming in and saying, “We get rid of the public sector”—I have seen the damage of that—“and we bring in the private sector.” However, for every 13 jobs lost in the public sector in the last quarter, only one has been created in the private sector. It is not good enough. The plan is not working. It is about time this Government tried to protect everybody in this nation.