Youth jobless figures: Government accused of “betrayal” of young people

THE Government was accused of condemning “a lost generation of young people” to the dole queue today as new figures showed the number of young unemployed had broken the one million barrier.

Unemployment figures have soared to a 17-year high to 2,620,000.

Unison, East Anglia’s largest union, slammed the figures as a “betrayal’ of young people.

The union Unite today called on ministers to create “a land bridge of opportunity” for young people, and employers’ organisation the CBI called for “urgent action” to help young people into the labour market.

The unemployment rate for young people, aged 16-24, broke through the one million barrier in September. The total jobless figure was 2,620,000.

Unite General Secretary, Len McCluskey condemned the figures as “an appalling indictment of the lack of economic imagination shown by this blinkered right-wing government”.

The number of unemployed young people rose by 67,000 in the three months to September to 1.2 million.

Most Read

It’s the highest total since comparable records began 19 years ago,

The unemployment rate among 16 to 24-year-olds is now 21.9%, and it includes 286,000 people in full-time education who were looking for part-time work.

The total number out of work has risen by 129,000 in the latest quarter to 2.62 million, the worst figure since 1994, giving a jobless rate of 8.3%, which is the highest since 1996.

In this region, the number of claimants rose by 8% from October last year to reach 117,100. Of these, women were worst hit, with a 21.3% rise to 41,000 on Jobseeker’s allowance, while the figure for young people in the region aged 18 to 24 is 15% higher than it was in October last year and stands at 34,300.

“Today’s figures are cause for concern at a time when the Suffolk economy remains fragile.” said the Chief Executive of Suffolk Chamber John Dugmore.

“We will continue to work in partnership with local businesses, local MPs and the Government to look for ways to ensure that young people out of work are given the opportunity to get into the workplace.”

“The Treasury recently announced millions of pounds of investment via the Regional Growth Fund to help SMEs at this difficult time and it is important that this money becomes available as soon as possible.”

“In Suffolk, we have an apprenticeship programme and a Foundation Degree in Leadership which is playing a major part in creating the workforce of tomorrow. The challenge we have is getting young people back into work today.”

Suffolk New College principal Dave Muller, who is also chair of Ipswich Chamber of Commerce, said: “With unemployment for young adults aged 16 to 24 being over 20% we are in real danger of losing the skills and enthusiasm of this generation.

“It is important that we all work together with Government locally to give this group an opportunity to gain experience in the workplace.

“The Apprenticeship programme offers local employers a cost effective way of impacting and making a difference. A collective commitment by all large medium sized employers to take on just one additional Apprentice would make a small but noticeable difference.

“Furthermore, Government needs to plan ahead to ensure that there are opportunities to reskills and retrain this group in future years as the economy improves and jobs become available’

Mr McCluskey said the Government had created “a lost generation of young people unable to gain a foothold on the employment ladder”.

“Ministers need to create a land bridge of opportunity for young people – our youth unemployment rate is twice that of Germany,” he said.

“It is not only a personal tragedy for the young people concerned, but it is also a waste of talent and potential, so necessary for economic growth, and is sowing the seeds for a whole raft of future social problems.

“The Government needs to adopt a twin-track policy – having more targeted measures to help young people into work, while at the same time, reversing the hardline austerity measures that have sucked the life out of the British economy.

“One way forward would be to ensure that a greater percentage of apprenticeships should go to those aged under the age of 25.’

Unison pressed again for the government to put in place a plan B that would help fuel growth and recovery – easing the burden on families and giving young people hope for the future.

Regional secretary Glyn Hawker said: “The Government is betraying the young people of our country. Their futures are being gambled away by a Tory government hell-bent on sticking to massive cuts, despite the heavy cost. As their job prospects dwindle, so do the routes into further education or training. Services they rely on such as Connexions and Youth Services are also vanishing – everywhere they look, doors are closing.

“The Government is blinkered to the reality of what its disastrous economic policies are doing to our country. Growth has stalled, unemployment keeps on growing, families are struggling to make ends meet, and young people are losing hope.

“Plan A is not working - cuts are only making the economic situation worse. The government must act now – time to avoid a double dip recession is running out.”

Richard Tunnicliffe, CBI East of England Regional Director, said employers should be encouraged to take on young unemployed people.

“These figures underline why we need urgent action to help our young people take their first steps in the labour market. A generation risks being scarred by the devastating effects of long-term unemployment,” he said.

“We are calling for action for jobs now, with a clear plan to get the UK working, focusing on our young people.

“The Chancellor should use his autumn statement to announce a Young Britain Credit, worth �1500, to encourage firms to take on an unemployed 16 to 24 year-old.

“We also need further steps to reform the benefits system to make work really pay and to foster better links

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter