Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced at the CBI Action for Jobs Summit in London yesterday that the £2,275 incentive to firms who employ workers aged between 18 and 24 will kick in after six months, as opposed to nine months elsewhere, in 20 particularly depressed locations across the UK, such as Blaenau Gwent and Rotherham.
The subsidy is part of the Government’s £1bnYouth Contract initiative, which was launched last autumn in an attempt to tackle record youth unemployment. It is hoped that the subsidy will create around 400,000 work and training placements.
Mr Clegg told the audience: “Three months can make all the difference. When you feel like you’re banging your head against a brick wall, when you live in an area where opportunities are already few and far between, another 12 weeks of rejection letters, of being cut off, of sitting at home waiting, worrying, that can seriously knock the stuffing out of you, making it extremely difficult to pick yourself up.
“So jobcentres will be able to make use of the subsidy before people are referred to the Work Programme, capitalising on their links with local employers, and they’ll also intensify support, so more training, more regular coaching, spending more time with young people to knock a CV into shape or prep ahead of an interview.”
However, CBI Director General John Cridland, who also spoke at the summit, said: “Youth unemployment has been rising since 2004, so it’s clear that a return to growth alone will not be enough to tackle the underlying causes of the problem.
“As employers, we can and should step up to give all of our young people the support they deserve.”
And shadow work and pensions secretary, Liam Byrne, said: “This is a sticking plaster solution for what is now a national crisis.”