A host of top-flight Labour politicians have descended on Croydon North ahead of next week’s by-election, as youth unemployment heads up the agenda.
Yesterday, Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor, accompanied his party’s candidate, Steve Reed, on a visit to Elevating Success, a not-for-profit youth training and development company in the constituency.
Balls said: “With 10.8% of young unemployed here, this by-election is a referendum on youth unemployment.”
The by-election, which takes place on November 29, was prompted by the death of long-standing MP Malcolm Wilkes.
Reed said: “People here are desperate for something to be done about the scandal of unemployment that is blighting the lives of thousands of young people.
“They ask why Croydon North has a higher level of youth unemployment than any nearby constituency.”
On Friday, David Miliband placed the issue of youth unemployment firmly on the local agenda. He called it a ‘forgotten crisis’ during a visit to the BRIT School.
He said: “I’m banging my head against the wall trying to get everyone to take notice of this issue, which is one of the most important facing us today.
“The public sector needs to set the example on this.”
Andy Stranack and Marisha Ray, the Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates respectively, offered no comment, nor did Respect candidate Lee Jasper.
Croydon North is regarded as a safe seat for Labour. The party has held it with one of the largest majorities in London since it was created by a border change in 1997.