Government must create public sector jobs to prevent "catastrophe," says economist

11 August 2020, 20:45

By Seán Hickey

Guiding young people into fields like energy, housing and social care will help prevent a catastrophe for young people, but it must be public sector work.

Christine Berry called for a "serious and ambitious programme of public job creation," and told Iain Dale that this is the likeliest way the UK can dodge a crisis.

The economist and author said that providing incentives for companies won't work as it "depends on employers wanting to create jobs for young people," which is unlikely in the current climate.

She recommended we "put people to work in industries we know need work anyway, like social care, housing, energy," as we've seen government plans to invest big in the coming months and years in these industries.

Ms Berry told Iain this will undoubtedly be "a sure fire way to prevent young people falling into unemployment."

Iain wondered why she didn't think the government should be encouraging people to start their own businesses. Ms Berry said that "at a time like this when the economic outlook is so uncertain," it may not be the best idea to put all your chips on the table by starting a business.

The economist told Iain that investment in public sector work is the best way for the UK to create jobs
The economist told Iain that investment in public sector work is the best way for the UK to create jobs. Picture: PA

"Nobody knows what is going to happen, and so to inject a bit of certainty and a bit of confidence into the economy and into the market is the role of government right now," she said.

She told Iain that investing in a public sector employment initiative "would be more effective than subsidising private employers," and would get people back into work quicker.

"They've got the right idea on some of this stuff," she said, "but I don't think it's anything like the scale that we're going to need," given the figures we've seen of late on unemployment because of the pandemic.

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