Those of you who have been following the fortunes of my New Deal of the Mind project with a mixture of interest and scepticism will perhaps wish to read the report we have published today with the Arts Council. Creative Survival in Hard Times is an attempt to grapple with the issue of employment in what has, for better or worse, become known as the "creative industries".
We make a number of recommendations, but central to the report is the conviction that a new spirit of entrepreneurship should be nurtured from the bottom up. For this reason we believe the next government should revisit the Enterprise Allowance Scheme, which ran from 1983-91. The EAS gave people slightly more than the dole for a year if they agreed to come off benefit and set up their own businesses.
It is interesting that the only working politician with a good knowledge of the scheme, Ken Clarke, has been asking alumni of the scheme to contact him via the social networking site Linked In.
I am genuinely interested in your thoughts about the report so do let me know (I get a feeling you will).