Coalition is betraying Britain’s youth with job scheme cuts

The £10.5bn worth of public sector cuts announced this week has undoubtedly left many individuals and organisations with a bitter taste in their mouth. But no group has been more badly let down and betrayed by the new government than our young people.

The most recent figures released by the Department for Children Schools and Families (DSCF) in May 2010, show that the number of NEETS (not in education, employment or training) aged 16-24 is 927,000.

This figure represents 15 per cent of young people in this age group, who have been left to their own devices without building any foundations for their future. The coalition’s decision to close schemes designed to support our youth is therefore unforgiveable.

It has axed the Future Job Fund, which was supposed to create 150,000 new jobs and which was part of the Young Person’s Guarantee to 2011-12. The Young Person’s Guarantee promised to offer a job, training or work experience to young people who have been out of work for six months or more.

These cuts may save the government £995m in the short term, but the long term prospects for our young people are decidedly grim. By turning their backs on almost one million youth in Britain, the coalition is building an underclass of unskilled people who exist on the margins of society and who will only be a drain on the economy as their lack of skills, qualifications and experience render them unemployable.

It was only in April that the OECD called for urgent action to target young people with poor education and skills who are at risk of long term unemployment and negative long term consequences for their career prospects.  It would seem that this advice has fallen on deaf ears.

The Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper is right in saying:

"This shows the Tory-Liberal government clearly thinks unemployment is a price worth paying…it will cost us far more in the long term in higher unemployment benefits and damage to our communities."