MPs demand more action on youth jobs

THE GOVERNMENT’S flagship jobs programme will not do enough to tackle the problem of youth unemployment, a leading group of MPs has said in a report out today.

Members of the work and pensions select committee say the coalition’s £1bn Youth Contract is a good start but “not enough on its own” given the scale of the problem.

One concern is that the £2,200 wage subsidy available to employers who take on unemployed 18-24 year olds is “unlikely to be sufficient” to encourage the creation of more jobs and will only have a positive impact at the margins.

The MPs also say that the government’s job creation targets are too ambitious. Instead they call on the government to provide better quality education courses and only offer job placements to young people who will actually benefit from the experience.

“There is a real risk that the government will fall short of its more eye-catching targets,” said committee chair Dame Anne Begg.

She also called on the government to set up a dedicated service for employers that will allow them to offer a job, work experience or training to young people without being hindered by bureaucracy.

Katja Hall, chief policy director at the CBI, agreed: “In England alone, there are 47 initiatives aimed at incentivising firms to hire and train young unemployed people, but firms tell us the sheer complexity of the system is off-putting.”

• BENEFITS may no longer be automatically increased on an annual basis if the government backs proposals to sever the link between state handouts and inflation. BBC’s Newsnight claimed plans are currently being discussed which would see many benefits, such as the jobseekers allowance, frozen for two years before rising in line with average pay. State pensions would not be affected.