Young people short changed from the Autumn Statement
Youth unemployment remains close to 1 million, and the government’s existing schemes are proving not to work. In particular, the Youth Contract has failed to deliver anywhere near the number of subsidised job places that were promised.
So today was a chance for the Chancellor to announce that it was time for young people to share in the jobs growth that others are beginning to benefit from. Instead we got a limited promise on employer national insurance which won’t take effect until 2015 (with employers exempt from paying NICs for young people aged between 16-20 earning less than £42k a year), and a sensible change to the 16 hour rule to allow young people to take up a traineeship which includes over 16 hours of learning while claiming JSA.
But there were no significant measures to tackle the youth jobs crisis now. And even worse, rather than building on the significant base as to what works, the government are plouging ahead with piloting an approach which will sanction young people who don’t engage in basic skills training from the first day of their claims and require participation in a ‘work experience placement, a traineeship or a community work placement’ after six months out of work, for some this will simply prove to be an extension of current workfare schemes where young people are asked to work for free.
With young people still failing to realise the benefits of recovery, the Chancellor should have taken the chance to show more ambiton.