Monday, 25 January 2010

Labour's plans to help young people are a drop in the ocean

Well, lo and behold after Nick Clegg outlined ambitious plans to help young people badly hit by the recession Labour ministers have been shamed into coming up with more cash to tackle youth unemployment.

But the proposals set out by Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper today constitute a drop in the ocean - and will go nowhere near helping all young people affected.

And they won't help all young people right now. And they are unlikely to reach many young people in West Reading who are out of work.
  • Labour ministers promise that their package will help 470,000 unemployed young people 'over the next 15 months'
  • But as I pointed out yesterday the government's own figures published last week revealed that there are currently approaching 1 million youngsters out of work
  • Dig deeper into the details of Labour's plan and only 100,000 youngsters would be set to benefit immediately
  • Labour's Future Jobs Fund will only create a possible 16,000 apprenticeship places (UK wide)
  • But the Future Jobs Fund is no panacea. As I revealed on my Redlands blog last July the number of jobs this was set create across the South East region last year was predicted to be less than 5,000!

Yvette Cooper said today that each young person would be given their own named Jobcentre Plus personal adviser. I'm sure this will have young people jumping for joy. This won't provide young people with hope it's designed to get them more used to the idea of being long-term unemployed. Is this the message we should be sending young people?

As Ms Cooper acknowledges in her own press release thousands of young people have been unemployed for 6 months or longer - school leavers and graduates.

Why did Labour leave young people to languish on benefits for all this time before announcing today's long-overdue 'Guarantee'?

Contrast these plans with the proposals that Nick Clegg outlined last week which include:

Investing £900 million pounds which would:

  • Go towards supporting ALL young people into training or paid work just 90 days or 3 months after they have been looking for work
  • Guarantee the creation of thousands of extra higher education and training course places
  • Fund a commitment to pay young people on an internship or training course £55 per week

It's clear for all to see: the Lib Dem proposals will help more young people into work, skills and training more quickly.

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