MP welcomes contract to get young earning or learning

LIB Dem MP Sir Alan Beith has welcomed a £1billion youth contract which aims to ensure that all jobless young people are earning or learning again before long-term damage is done.

Announced by Lib Dem Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in November, the Youth Contract could benefit the 2,580 18 to 24-year-olds in Northumberland who are in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance.

As the Northeast Press Keep Northumberland Working campaign gathers pace, Britain’s four biggest employer organisations, the Confederation of British Industry, the British Chambers of Commerce, the British Retail Consortium and the Federation of Small Businesses, have formally backed the Youth Contract. Starting in April, the Youth Contract will provide at least 410,000 new work places for 18 to 24-year-olds over the next three years, including 160,000 wage subsidies and 250,000 work experience placements.

A new programme will also help 16 and 17-year-olds who are not in employment, education or training. There will be at least 20,000 more incentive payments to encourage employers to take on young apprentices in England.

Sir Alan said: “Youth unemployment is an economic waste and a slow-burn social disaster. If young people are out of work, the consequences of that will be felt for decades afterwards. We need to ensure young people do not have a false start.

“That is why it is excellent news that Britain’s four biggest employer organisations are backing the scheme. I look forward to working with local employers to make sure the Youth Contract is a success so that we won’t lose the skills and talent of our young people – right when we need them most.”