Rushanara Ali MP urged the Government to take urgent action in redoubling its efforts to reduce youth unemployment and the numbers of young people in neither education nor training (NEET).
Speaking at Treasury Questions, Rushanara urged the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander MP, to both acknowledge the scale of the challenge of youth unemployment in the UK and to pledge real action to tackle it:
“Mr Speaker, does the Chief Secretary agree that we should all re-double our efforts to reduce the unemployment level for young people from 730,000 further down, and that still some 1 million are not in training or education. Does he think that his Government could do much more to get them back to work?”
Rushanara brought attention to the most recent figures on youth unemployment which highlight that:
- 737,000 young people aged between 16-24 remain unemployed;
- 954,000 young people aged between 16-24 not currently in education or work – over 13% of the young people in this age group.
- The proportion of young people classed as NEETs in the UK remains higher than the EU average – higher than many international neighbours including France, Germany and the Netherlands.
Commenting after the question, Rushanara said:
“Our country’s young people deserve every chance to fulfil their ambitions. Yet the most recent figures underline that this Government has left almost one million of them behind. David Cameron’s Government has failed to show leadership on this issue time and again – through scrapping the Educational Maintenance Allowance, botching the Youth Contract, and leaving careers guidance for young people in ruins. Labour will support young people every step of the way – through delivering fairness in our school system, supporting young people in navigating through the job market, and through our Youth Jobs Guarantee. “
1) The latest independent figures of both youth unemployment and NEETs can be found here.
2) The Chief Secretary to the Treasury replied: I do agree with the Honourable Lady that we do need to more to reduce the level of unemployment in our young people. But I’d also point out to her, and it would have been fair for her to point out, that actually we have seen a very sharp fall in the level of youth unemployment and a very sharp increase in the level of employment of young people in the last 12 months. That suggests to me that the policy mix that the Coalition has put in place is the right one to achieve those objectives.