Employment: Young People

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 25th March 2015.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Warwick Lord Taylor of Warwick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what they are doing to increase the long-term employment of young ethnic minority people in the United Kingdom.

Photo of Lord Freud Lord Freud The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The number of people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds in employment is at a near record high, with unemployment rates falling across all ethnic groups. Latest figures show that there are 129,000 more people from BME backgrounds in work compared to the same time last year, with the total number, at a near record high of more than 3 million. The employment rate has also risen by 0.7 percentage points over the last year. Unemployment has fallen for all ethnic minorities and is down by 2 percentage points (88,000) over the last year and down by 2.9 percentage points (103,000) since 2011.

The youth claimant count is at its lowest level since the 1970s. Work Coaches offer all claimants tailored support from day one of their claim. Under the Youth Contract, we are providing additional funding and Jobcentre Plus support for those who are still facing barriers to work including young people from Black and Ethnic Minority groups. We provide work experience and sector based work academy placements to give young people training and experience to help them to get into work. DWP employment programmes such as the Work Programme, Youth Contract and Mandatory Employment Programmes have been designed for all long-term claimants and are tailor made for the individual.

One of the Government’s strategies for increasing ethnic minority employment and participation in the labour market is based around mainstreaming opportunity through locally delivered flexible provision. In addition, in October 2014 we introduced an intensive 3 month support package for 18-19 year olds from Day 1 of their claim in areas of high youth unemployment and the 8 highest concentrated areas of young claimants from Black and Ethnic Minority groups. This additional support will run until the end of March 2015.

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Andy Robertson-Fox
Posted on 26 Mar 2015 12:13 pm (Report this annotation)

Given the increasing number of people from Black and Ethnic Minority backgrounds taking up employment in the UK, the reply the Minister gave to Dame Floella Benjamin in the House on 11th March 2015 that the government has no plans to change its current policy on pension freezing serves only to underline the irrational and illogical sightedness of the discriminative Clause 20 of the Pension Act 2014.

The ICBP's "Cost/Savings Analysis of Unfreezing Pensions" already shows the benefit that world wide unfreezing and not just index linking in the UK, the EEA and some other randomly selected countries, will have to the UK economy - over £bn of taxpayer's money per year and rising.

But are the members of the Black and Ethnic Minority groups aware that there is no justification for this discrimination? The replies Lord Freud gave to Dame Floella and others have been easliy discredited in annotations to the Hansard record of that debate.

Are they, the Black and Ethnic Minority workers, aware that it is simply government intransigence that is creating a financial barrier to possibly they and their families being able to return to their relatives and roots in retirement?

George Morley
Posted on 26 Mar 2015 2:15 pm (Report this annotation)

Given the figures that Lord Freud has quoted should be good news as they are now contributing to the UK economy, paying their taxes and National Insurance contributions which is wonderful is'nt it ?
Well it should be but as has been pointed out by Andy Robertson-Fox that is only part of the picture.
The end of their working life of these people is not the fairy story of a life back in their native country with their relatives and friends who stayed at home as they are now in a grossly unfair position of finding that they cannot afford to go as their earned and paid for pension will never increase due to the undemocratic and discriminative Frozen pension policy that Lord Freud seemingly supports with such conviction making one wonder why he chooses to ignore the code of conduct expected of those who gain the privilege of serving these very people in parliament which should be to their benefit given that ministers should give “accurate and truthful” information to Parliament