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Liberal Democrat News 2nd December 2011

December 2, 2011 8:00 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg last Friday outlined a £1bn Youth Contract to tackle youth unemployment. Starting next April, the Youth Contract will provide at least 410,000 new work places for 18 to 24-year-olds over a three-year period, including 160,000 wage subsidies and 250,000 new work experience placements.

In addition, there will be at least 20,000 more incentive payments to encourage employers to take on young apprentices. There will also be a new programme to help the most disengaged 16 and 17 year olds - getting them back to school or college, onto an apprenticeship or into a job with training.

The Youth Contract is open to all businesses, including those that already employ large numbers of young people (like retail and construction) and emerging sectors (like the green economy, creative industries and ICT).

"The aim of the Youth Contract is to get every unemployed young person earning or learning again before long term damage is done," said Nick. "This is a £1bn package, and what's different about it is that it gets young people into proper, lasting jobs in the private sector.

"But it's a contract, a two-way street: if you sign up for the job, there'll be no signing on for the dole. You have to stick with it.

"Youth unemployment is an economic waste and a slow-burn social disaster. We can't lose the skills and talent of our young people - right when we need them most. We can't afford to leave our young men and women on the scrap heap. We need the next generation to help us build a new economy.

"It hasn't been easy to find £1bn but it is the right thing to do. We won't allow the children brought up in the boom to bear the brunt of the bust. The next generation must not pay the price for my generation's mistakes.

"We want to give every young person a reason to get up, a reason to go out, and a reason to feel great at the end of the day. But young people have to meet us halfway. If you break your side of the bargain, don't just expect to live your life on benefits."

Back in January, the Deputy Prime Minister made a presentation to the Cabinet on social mobility, raising the issue of youth unemployment.

In the Social Mobility Strategy, published in April, (see above Nick with students at a careers fair for its launch) the government announced that three departments (Work & Pensions, Education and Business Innovation & Skills) would work together on a new strategy for youth unemployment.

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