The Government is about to reveal a controversial new plan to cut the number of young people out of work.
Under the Foundations for Living scheme, youngsters aged between 18 and 25 will sign up for a 6-week crash course to l learn architecture and building skills, which normally take years to master. At the end of the course, they will be able to build their own affordable housing.
The idea is the brainchild of Prime Minister Gordon Brown,and is said to be inspired by "lifestyle" shows, such as BBC 1's DIY SOS. A source said "Gordon's a huge fan of the show and is in talks with the BBC about a prime-time show following the novice builders' progress. He's hoping for the first episode to be aired at the beginning of November. That way we can get the kids moved in to their properties by Christmas, and, potentially, come out on top in the TV ratings war." Housewives' favourite Nick Knowles and ever-chirpy Fearne Cotton are being tipped as favourites to host the show.
The project is not without its critics, however. Tory think-tank the Political Reform Initiative Committee (P.R.I.C.)last night labelled it "a cynical ploy to tamper with unemployment statistics". A spokesperson for the union Technical, Workmen and Allied Trades (T.W.A.T.), sniffed "This will bring the fine reputation of the British building industry into disrepute."
Elsewhere, Malcolm Bryant, a Bob the Builder strippergram from Essex, commented tersely, "The poor will indeed be the architects of their own misery now."