Unemployment: Young People

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 6th September 2013.

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Photo of Lindsay Roy Lindsay Roy Labour, Glenrothes

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what change there has been in the level of youth unemployment in the last three years; and what steps he plans to take to reduce youth unemployment in the next two years.

Photo of Mark Hoban Mark Hoban The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Youth unemployment is at a similar level now to when the coalition took office, having risen by nearly 250,000 in the two years leading up to the 2010 general election.

There have been periods of both rising and falling youth unemployment since 2010 but recent figures have been encouraging, with the number of unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds (excluding those who are full-time students) down 37,000 in the year to April to June 2013, to 676,000. The number of young people claiming jobseeker's allowance also fell by 72,100 in the year to July 2013, to 381,300.

Although improving, youth unemployment remains too high. That is why we have modernised our services by giving Jobcentre Plus advisers access to a comprehensive menu of help tailored to support the individual at the most appropriate point in their claim.

We introduced the Youth Contract which will provide nearly half a million new opportunities for young people—including wage incentives, incentives to take on apprentices, and extra work experience placements. Extra funding is being made available to support the most vulnerable 16 and 17-year-olds not in education, employment or training into learning, an apprenticeship or job with training.

Young people also have access to the Work programme which provides tailored support for those claimants furthest from the labour market. Young claimants are referred to a provider after 9 months of seeking work and those with more challenging barriers to work can be referred at three months. Providers are paid on the results they achieve, and are paid more for supporting the harder to help into work.

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