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Youth (un)employment targeted in election campaign

by on February 18, 2015

Although the number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) is reported to be falling (as here on the ONS website), it is still a newsworthy topic. A couple of local stories recently caught my eye. One warned that even with falling NEET numbers, we must not get complacent but should continue to support apprenticeship and traineeship schemes (here in the Harlow Star, focusing on Essex).  Another focused on the Casey Report which found evidence of manipulation of NEET figures which were “consciously delayed… to positively affect the outcome of the monthly performance calculation” by Rotherham Council, as reported here in the Local Government Chronicle, suggesting the political sensitivity around high youth unemployment.

This week sees youth unemployment featuring in the general election campaign. The latest development is the announcement by David Cameron (reported here in The Guardian) that those aged 18 to 21 who have not had a job for six months would no longer be able to claim jobseeker’s allowance unless they start apprenticeship or complete community work. Those who undertake community work would be paid a youth allowance equivalent to the jobseeker’s allowance rate for young people.

The BBC News website compares this with Labour’s plan which is to promise the same group of people a guaranteed job, concluding that ‘both parties would want you to hear them caring deeply about the fate of young unemployed people, while making sure no one gets something for nothing’.

I expect we’ll hear more on this over the next few weeks.

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