Charlie Mullins: “Call an early election in January”

The government has clearly run out of ideas on how to get people back into work. It is actually doing the exact opposite by cutting the youth training budget by £350m. A staggering million 16-24-year-olds are now out of work.

All I can say is, please call an early election in January or February. Don’t make us suffer until May.

And to add insult to injury, senior MPs apparently feel they deserve an extra £40,000 in their pay packet – despite many of them getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar!

What boss would up the money of someone who, due to their recent performance, was lucky to have a job at all?

We, the taxpayers, are our MPs’ paymasters. As a group they need to regain our respect and prove their worth to us before there’s any talk of more money!

Just last week, a court jailed a fiddling politician after finding former MEP Tom Wise guilty of a £36,000 fraud. Let’s hope this case not only makes MPs think twice before signing off their expenses, but also gets a few more of the guilty ones in front of the beak!

I was also astounded to see that some “training” companies are taking advantage of people’s desperation for work by offering people courses in trades such as plumbing, with the suggestion they could soon be making a mint.

Now I’m nobody’s fool. If I met a bloke in the pub who said he’d cut me in on a scheme that would make me £100k for only a couple of days work a week, then I’d say he’s either running a scam, or what he’s planning is probably highly illegal.

There is no way in the world you can learn to be a plumber (or any other skilled tradesman) by doing six weeks in a classroom.

That’s why all my employees have served three-year apprenticeships, and have years of experience on the tools before they are considered eligible to come on board.

These so-called “training companies” are exploiting people in hard times and, in doing so, are putting the public at risk by bringing untrained, inexperienced tradespeople into their homes.

Plumbers can earn good money, but it’s not easy. You’ve got to serve your time as an apprentice, and put in the hours to make a good living.

But whatever messes we are getting in to in this country, it’s nothing compared to the situation facing the real heroes, those who are out there fighting for our country. We have bid in a Help for Heroes auction to win a performance from The Soldiers at our Christmas party.

The auction is raising money for injured members of the Armed Forces. They are proper heroes – something our politicians would do well to remember.

Makes me think of all those families who will be spending their Christmas apart.  

I was very proud that our engineers and their families marched in the Lord Mayor’s Show at the weekend. It was the fourth year running we’ve taken part. We took a range of vehicles including one of our motorcycles, our modern VWs, our 1958 Morris Minor and our 1958 Fordson. And our band, Never Mind the Ballcocks, even played out from the back of one of our flat bed vans performing songs from their charity album.

Torrential rain couldn’t even put a dampener on the parade.

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