Youth Unemployment

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 24th February 2014.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The Government’s approach is working. For the 20th consecutive month, we have seen the youth claimant count reduce, so it is down on the month, down on the year and down since the election.

Photo of Laurence Robertson Laurence Robertson Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee

It is very good news that young people are finding work, but there are still far too many out of work. None the less, engineering and manufacturing companies in my constituency cannot find young people to employ. What discussions is the Minister’s Department having with Jobcentre Plus and with its colleagues in the Department for Education about giving young people the right kind of career advice?

Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

My hon. Friend does a lot in his constituency of Tewkesbury with engineering and manufacturing companies. I know that he regards it as vital that more people are involved in manufacturing and science, and that is a view that we all share, which is why we are doing more on apprenticeships—half a million this year—and on advanced apprenticeships. We have also brought together the youth action groups, so the Minister for Civil Society can now lead the way for all Departments and the voluntary and charity sector to work together.

Photo of Alison McGovern Alison McGovern Shadow Minister (International Development)

The Minister reels off statistics, but will she help me communicate with young people in Merseyside? What are they supposed to think when they see the figures in the Liverpool Echo today that show that more people have been sanctioned in Merseyside than have found work through her Work programme? What are young people supposed to think?

Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

I do a lot on Merseyside—whether it is with the Merseyside youth entrepreneurship scheme or with young kids and helping to provide them with role models. Supporting people on Merseyside has shaped my career for the past 15 years. Indeed, I grew up there during the 1980s. What we are doing should be looked at in its entirety. We cannot look at sanctions in isolation. This is about the claimant commitment, the extra traineeships since 2011—more than half a million—and the extra apprenticeships. We are doing a lot. I am focusing on youth unemployment. It is going in the right direction, but there is still plenty more work to be done.