Finance minister agrees to talks on Corby’s youth unemployment

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Financial secretary to the Treasury Greg Clark has agreed to hold talks aimed at tackling Corby’s high level of youth unemployment.

The move came after MP for Corby and East Northants Andy Sawford asked for a new enterprise zone to be created, covering the constituency.

Speaking in the Commons this week, Mr Sawford referred to a recent study by Ambitious Minds, an education business, which pinpointed Corby as the area of the UK worst affected by youth unemployment after it rose from four per cent to 11 per cent between September 2007 and July this year.

During Treasury Questions Mr Sawford said: “Is the minister aware that recent independent surveys show that Corby and east Northamptonshire is one of the most difficult places in the country for a young unemployed person trying to find work?

“I can tell him that I meet young people, day in, day out, who are desperately trying to find work, so will he look at the unique case for having an enterprise zone for Corby and east Northamptonshire, extending by one the number of enterprise zones that the Government have created?”

Mr Clark said he would be happy to meet Mr Sawford to discuss the situation in Corby and said he was keen to receive more applications for the city deals system, which gives areas the powers they need to attract private sector investment and to create new jobs.

Mr Sawford said: “I am disappointed that the Government will not support an enterprise zone for Corby, but I will keep pressing for this, and I will be taking the Minister up on his offer to discuss other initiatives to support unemployed local young people to get into work.”

November’s jobless figures, published this week, show that there are 535 people between 18 and 24 (10.8 per cent) out of work in Corby, slightly less than in October.

The percentage for the East Midlands is 6.8 per cent and nationally it is 7 per cent.

Of those young people out of work, 370 have been without a job for up to six months, 100 have been unemployed for six to 12 months and 65 have been jobless for more than a year.