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Liberal Democrat News 17th February 2012

February 17, 2012 8:01 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Nick Clegg champions Youth Contract

Thousands of companies received a letter this week from the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg calling on them to play their part in getting young people earning or learning.

Nick is urging businesses to sign up to the government's flagship £1bn Youth Contract so that they are ready to offer the jobs to young people in April. He announced details of how employers can access cash to help cover the cost of taking on fresh talent through a 'wage subsidy'. The subsidy will be paid to companies for taking on young unemployed people and is designed to cover costs like National Insurance contributions.

The wage subsidy will pay £2,275 to employers for every 18 - 24 year old unemployed person they employ from the Work Programme and is open to all businesses, voluntary organisations and charities.

Payments for the majority of business will be made after the young person has been employed for 26 weeks. For smaller enterprises these payments will be staggered, with the first payment after eight weeks and the rest after 26. This recognises that smaller businesses need a boost to their cashflow to make the jobs viable.

The wage incentive will also be available for part time positions, with a rate of £1,137.50 if someone is employed between 16 and 29 hours.

"Getting young people earning or learning is my top priority, and that's what the Youth Contract is going to do," said Nick. "This is a long-term boost to help businesses get young people into jobs before long-term damage is done. Employers have a huge part to play in this and the subsidy we're announcing benefits business and young people.

"I have written to thousands of employers of all sizes - from global corporations to small local firms - calling on them to look at what we're offering through the Youth Contract and sign up to offer jobs from April. This is a significant moment and a call to arms for businesses to offer long-term opportunities to young people who are out of work."