Dumb and dumber?

"They cannot do reading. They cannot do writing."

In an outspoken and grammatically incorrect attack on young people, Sir Stuart Rose, boss of Marks & Spencers, said millions of school and college leavers are not fit for work, suggesting they didn't even have a rudimentary grasp of basic grammar or arithmetic.

In a startling demonstration of his own unique understanding of the english language, the knight of the realm was quoted as saying "They cannot do reading. They cannot do arithmetic. They cannot do writing."

He could have easily ended his speech with the apparently truthful line 'And I cannot do speaking'.

At a time when the number of 16 to 24-year-olds branded as "Neet" - not in education, employment or training - is set to top 1 million, corporations like Marks & Spencers should probably be asking how can they help young people and not just put the boot in.

But, as we've already explored, young people are the first wave of employees to be hit in times of recession. Graduate recruitment schemes are being discontinued and even young people with qualifications are finding it increasingly hard to find work.