Government Expenditure: Young People

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th November 2017.

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Photo of Faisal Rashid Faisal Rashid Labour, Warrington South 12:00 am, 28th November 2017

What steps he is taking to ensure that young people are not disproportionately affected by reductions in Government expenditure.

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Next year, we will start paying down the debt for the first time in 17 years, which will reduce the burden on future generations and help our young people.

Photo of Faisal Rashid Faisal Rashid Labour, Warrington South

Today’s state of the nation report makes very clear the barriers to social mobility facing many young people in England. Given this Government’s record of cuts to social funding and school funding, raising tuition fees, high youth unemployment and failure to produce affordable housing for families and young people, these findings are not surprising. What action will the Minister take to combat the intergenerational divide for young people right across the country?

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

I point out to the hon. Gentleman that youth unemployment rose under the previous Labour Government and was 20% when they left office. They let down young people, with stagnating standards in English and maths, rampant grade inflation and rising youth unemployment. Under this Government, we are increasing the number of apprenticeships, we have improved the school curriculum, we have brought in new academies and free schools, and youth unemployment is at its lowest level for over 13 years.

Photo of Luke Graham Luke Graham Conservative, Ochil and South Perthshire

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the railcard extension for under-30s announced in last week’s Budget will support young people by significantly lowering their commuting costs and encourage more of them into employment?

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Chief Secretary to the Treasury

My hon. Friend is right that that will of course help young people. We have introduced the stamp duty cut for first-time buyers, which will help many in their 20s and 30s to get on to the housing ladder for the first time. We are also putting new money into maths and computer science to help young people get the skills they need to succeed in the modern economy.