Prime Minister challenged over stereotyping young people

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From: Julie Botham, Centre Manager, YMCA, Skipton.

I AM issuing an open invitation to David Cameron to come and visit the young people of Skipton – especially the young people presently living at the YMCA – before assuming that all young people under the age of 25 who are claiming benefits do so as a life choice (Yorkshire Post, October 3).

We have young people living here through no fault of their 
own (the majority would still rather be living at home) who wish to attend a full-time college course, but if they are over 18 they are told they will not be granted any benefits and will have to sign on as jobseekers. Where does that fit in with Mr Cameron’s “every young person must be in education rather than be claiming benefits”?

Our young people do want a positive future and are willing to work and study for it but they also need to survive while doing so.

I would also challenge Mr Cameron to try to access a flat in the Craven area, even as a young person working full time. I have been working with young people for over 20 years and 
have seen the difficulties for them in trying to access accommodation, let alone getting a flat and continuing with a life on benefits as he so glibly announces.

The media are also to blame – after his “relevant points” a photograph was shown on TV of two young people dressed in hoodies smoking a suspicious cigarette in front of a graffiti-covered wall.

Compare this with the recent positive images of our young people at the YMCA which 
have been featured in the local press.

We are justifiably proud of our young people. We have one young man who has not had the best start in life but he is trying to start his own business, he spoke at a Rotary Club last week and has even written to Mr Cameron for help and guidance – it will be interesting to see if he receives a reply.

We are constantly told not to stereotype within our society, yet our esteemed Prime Minister has done exactly that with the future of our country.

From: Gordon Lawrence, Stumperlowe View, Sheffield.

THE party conference season, like the last days of summer warmth, has drawn to a conclusion and left, amongst all the rhetorical detritus, a more definitive reminder of the respective parties’ philosophies, intentions and policies. After all, there’s nothing like the high noon shoot-out of a forthcoming General Election to concentrate the mind.

Ed Miliband has attempted to distance his party from the invidious heritage of New Labour; he’s migrated leftwards and although, in most respects, a populist strategy it only further emphasises the party’s inability to understand the basics of economic good sense.

His price cap on energy firms may win him votes but, if he’s elected and extends price control to other areas, in line with his Left agenda, it will end in tears and cold ones too.

Nick Clegg’s main contribution seems to be, namely, his glorification of the few measures the Lib Dem fraction of the coalition were able to introduce, also, the number of Tory measures the Lib Dems thwarted – leaving policy holes for the opportunistic Ukip to exploit – and a scathing summary of his Conservative bedfellows in general. Not much liberal brotherliness there!

In contrast, David Cameron set out the Tory party beliefs, attacking Labour’s past performance and the lurch to the Left by Miliband.

He was cautious but optimistic on the economy and there was a cohesion in his address that was absent in the rousing, impassioned speech of Ed Miliband who seemed to be searching for policies to match the power of his oration.

With George Osborne resurrected from a figure of ridicule to an apparent strong steersman on the economic rudder and structural reforms in education and welfare accompanied with future 
plans for the reshaping of the human rights and immigration mess, David Cameron appears and deserves to be the clear winner of this year’s conference season.

But the polls will have the last word on this!