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17/10/2012 - ConDems increase youth unemployment

The Con-Dems have increased long-term youth unemployment in England by almost a quarter since taking power in 2010, the TUC revealed.
 
Nearly 1½ million young people are currently not in education, employment or training – over 1 in 5 of all young people.
 
Graham Williamson of Solidarity commented:
 
"Youth unemployment is now one of the greatest challenges facing the country. A quarter of a million have been unemployed for over a year. The costs of these levels of long-term youth unemployment – now and in the future – are enormous.

This is a crisis we cannot afford. Unemployment hurts at any age; but for young people, long-term unemployment scars for life.

It means lower earnings, more unemployment, more ill health later in life. It means more inequality between rich and poor – because the pain hits the most disadvantaged. And it means more division between communities."
 
The TUC have identified youth unemployment ‘hotspots’ in 152 local authority areas around the country, where the proportion of young people claiming unemployment benefit is twice the national average, where they estimate at least 1 in 4 young people are NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training), and where emergency action is needed to turn things round.
 
Coalition policies have caused shocking 50 per cent increases in the number of 16 to 24-year-olds out of work for longer than six months in some regions, the TUC report found.
 
The North West was the worst-hit region (53% increase), followed by the East of England (40%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (29%). London was the only part of England to witness a fall, said the union organisation.
 
Despite the massive increase in long-term youth unemployment, government support for the age group has fallen by 26 per cent.
 
The government will spend almost £100 million less this year on support for jobless young people claiming jobseeker's allowance in England than was provided under the previous government's Youth Guarantee, which included the Future Jobs Fund, according to the research.
 
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "With such sharp cuts in support for young unemployed people, it's no surprise that the government is failing to get to grips with this urgent problem.

"It is deeply concerning that many of the areas hit hardest by unemployment are seeing such a steep drop in financial support for jobless youngsters.

"Long-term youth unemployment is a ticking time bomb under the nation's finances, with severe consequences not just for young people but also for their communities and the country's wider economic prospects.

"This crisis simply cannot be tackled on the cheap. These cuts are a false economy - failing to act now will cost us all in the longer-term."
 
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: ".....youth unemployment is still too high, and we don't underestimate the size of this challenge for one moment, which is why we are committed to helping young people get the skills and experience they need to get a job. Over the next three years the £1 billion Youth Contract will offer nearly 500,000 opportunities for young people through work experience, apprenticeships and wage subsidies to help them find work."
 
The report was published in the run-up to Wednesday's release of new unemployment figures by the Office for National Statistics and the TUC and STUC marches For A Future That Works in London and Glasgow on Saturday.
 

Report by Ian Bell