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Business leaders back Nick Clegg’s £1bn Youth Contract

January 5, 2012 10:36 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Backing for the plan to tackle youth unemployment comes from The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), who will also urge their members to back the initiative.

Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government are determined to tackle the growing problem of youth unemployment, which Nick Clegg described as "an economic waste and a slow burn disaster". The aim of the Youth Contract is to ensure that all jobless young people are earning or learning again before long-term damage is done. Over three years, the Youth Contract will provide at least 410,000 new work places for 18 to 24-year-olds into work.

The Youth Contract includes:

  • 160,000 wage subsidies and 250,000 new work experience placements.
  • There will be at least 20,000 more incentive payments to encourage employers to take on young apprentices.
  • And there will 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.

Nick Clegg said:

"Supporting people into work is my priority for 2012 and helping young people get proper, lasting jobs is especially important.

"The Youth Contract will make sure every unemployed young person starts earning or learning again before long term damage is done.

"But government can't do this alone, we need businesses to play their part too. That's why the support of the Confederation of British Industry, British Chambers of Commerce, British Retail Consortium and Federation of Small Businesses is such good news."

The Deputy Prime Minister is today [Thursday] hosting a roundtable discussion with business leaders, including senior representatives from some of the UK's top businesses including Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, BT and Asda, to hear from them about how they offer young people work, training and apprenticeships in their organisations and discuss the Youth Contract.
Nick Clegg will also launch a new website - dwp.gov.uk/youth-contract for employers across Britain to sign up to the Youth Contract.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said:

"The Youth Contract is good news for young people up and down the country. It will encourage firms to give a young inexperienced person a chance so that the scourge of youth unemployment can be tackled.

"We sincerely hope that employers of all sizes looking to hire staff will see the Youth Contract as a real incentive to invest in our young people."

Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

"Youth unemployment is a huge challenge for Government and business alike. Firms up and down the country are concerned about the record numbers of young people currently out of work, and tell us they are ready to do their bit.

"That's why we warmly welcome the Youth Contract, which will help growing businesses offer more young people real jobs and work experience. We will work closely with the Government to ensure that these initiatives help to overcome the obstacles that stop young people and potential employers from connecting."

Director General of the British Retail Consortium, Stephen Robertson, said:

"Nearly a million young people are employed by retailers in the UK and they're keen to take on even more. The sector employs a quarter of all 20 to 24 year olds who are in work and the proportions are even higher for teenagers. Retail also has an excellent record on staff development and is one of the highest spending sectors on training per employee.

"The Government's focus on helping young people into work and training has the potential to make a real and very welcome contribution to reducing youth unemployment. There needs to be an accompanying set of initiatives to drive growth which will help create new jobs for people of all ages."

Mike Cherry, Policy Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

"Youth unemployment continues to be a major problem and so we welcome the Government's Youth Contract initiative. Small businesses want to create jobs but need help overcoming the risks associated with taking on staff, especially in the current climate. We also need to see enterprise education in schools and colleges so that young people are given the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the world of work."