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Conservative candidate lacks the integrity to publish Lib Dem reply on youth unemployment

November 18, 2009 11:55 AM

Following a challenge from the Conservative candidate for Newcastle East, Lib Dem parliamentary spokesman Greg Stone has as requested provided details of the proposed funding for his party's youth unemployment policies.

However, the Conservative candidate has thus far failed to do the honourable thing by publishing the response to his challenge on his website or withdrawing his attack.

The response is therefore reproduced below:

Dear Dominic,

I don't think it is reasonable to claim that I am "pretending to act" given my experience, nor is it truthful to say that the Lib Dems have "no answer". In the circumstances therefore I would once again ask you to withdraw your original comments and your recent blog update.

You ask about the cost of the Lib Dem proposals. To deliver the programme through 2010 would cost a total of £1.08 billion broken down as follows:

Internships (net cost of Training Allowance) £40 million

Additional Higher Education Places £90 million

Additional Further Education Places £390 million

Adult Learning Grants (50% increase in take up) £50 million

Back-to-Work Programmes (early admission) £510 million

Total £1,080 million

The Government's estimate of the cost of the VAT cut for the period Oct-Dec 2009 is £2.6 billion. As such, the programme would be deliverable in full through 2010 even if commenced today.

In terms of funding requirements for the rest of the Parliament, I would hope that an emergency programme of this kind would not be required on a permanent basis in the event of an economic recovery.

Should the economic recession and unemployment crisis last longer than the end of 2010, I note that both our parties are in agreement that Train to Gain, and other LSC funding streams could be diverted to support activity of this type.

In the hypothetical scenario of a shortfall, I would anticipate that the party's proposed banking profits tax could be used to cover any additional funding requirement, and would propose to await confirmation in the party's final manifesto.

When it comes to a choice between bankers bonuses and helping young people back into work, I know which side I'm on.

Yours sincerely

Greg Stone

Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesman, Newcastle East

PS Given that you have challenged me on this issue, I trust you will have the integrity to post this response in full in response to your website post, or withdraw both postings.