County council challenged to tackle youth unemployment

Cllr John McGhee, leader of the Labour group on Northamptonshire County Council
Cllr John McGhee, leader of the Labour group on Northamptonshire County Council
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The Labour leader on Northamptonshire County Council is calling on the authority’s Conservative leadership to tackle high levels of youth unemployment in the area.

Recent figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the number of 18 to 24-year-olds claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance in Northamptonshire is above the UK national average.

Cllr John McGhee, leader of the Labour group on the county council, said: “There are over 3,900 young people claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance in Northamptonshire and that is something we have to address to get our county’s economy moving again.”

He said that on taking office after the 2010 General Election, the Coalition Government scrapped Labour’s Future Jobs scheme in one of the most unrestrained and high profile spending cuts.

Labour’s scheme, which was introduced in 2009, addressed the problem of long-term youth unemployment by guaranteeing jobs to 100,000 unemployed 18 to 24-year-olds for at least six months, said Cllr McGhee.

Labour’s job’s guarantee scheme was replaced with the Youth Contract in 2011, which was predicted to provide 160,000 jobs over the following three years.

However, figures just released show that the scheme has failed to deliver, providing just 4,690 jobs across the UK.

Cllr McGhee said: “The Tory administration needs to facilitate the development of a centrally co-ordinated strategy for tackling youth unemployment across the county, as it is quite clear that central and local government are failing to deal with the issue.

“Youth unemployment is a serious problem, which requires serious attention. We need to work with businesses and education providers to create employment opportunities and apprenticeships. We simply cannot afford to lose a generation.”