Last week in the Chamberlain Files, Paul Dale reported that West Midlands Police Commissioner Bob Jones issued a ‘don’t panic’ plea after the first increase in recorded crime in recent years:

“When there is high unemployment and a greater degree of poverty then you generally see an increase in burglary and shoplifting . . . the tide may now be turning. There are warning signs”.

city youth unemployment

The council website confirms that at 20.4%, youth unemployment in Birmingham is in a far worse position than the country as a whole, where the youth unemployment rate is around 12%.

So a fifth of our young people – and many elders as well – are in effect being told that they are surplus to requirements.

Meanwhile controversy rages over many comparatively trivial issues

ART 2Why not build on the track record of the Aston Reinvestment Trust, which should be given wider publicity and practical support? It nurtures the small and medium businesses to which it lends funds – enterprises which have been unable to get a bank loan. Mentors with long experience volunteer to advise and encourage less experienced clients.

Nearly 5000 families have benefitted

ART teamOver the years ART has lent over £11m to more than 500 borrowers. This has enabled these enterprises to create or protect more than 4900 jobs. That  – assuming an average of 3 to a family – is roughly 15,000 people . A few of its many success stories may be seen here. Young people, as they start secondary education, could be given some hope for the future and inspired to gain skills by news of these local successes and the role played by ART.

Is its record equalled by any other agency in the city?