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Youth Employment

Volume 507: debated on Tuesday 16 March 2010

10. If he will bring forward proposals for fiscal measures to encourage businesses to employ young people. (322194)

The Government have introduced a significant package of support to help young people into work quickly. This includes the £1.3 billion young person’s guarantee of a job, and up to £1,000 for businesses that recruit unemployed young people.

In Stockport, more than 4,000 young people are not in education, employment or training and many employers are ready to help them. Is it not time for the Chancellor to increase his support for employers, so that they can give the young people in my constituency the break and the start that they need?

I will take that as another Budget submission, but just to be clear with the hon. Gentleman, the young person’s guarantee is already providing jobs and work experience and training for those aged 16 to 24 who have been out of work for six months. From April this year, if a young person has been out of work for 10 months, they need actually to take that job or that training opportunity, or the community service on offer. We have already provided access to 120,000 jobs for young people through the future jobs fund, paid at the national minimum wage, together with 120,000 pre-employment training places.

Will my right hon. Friend ensure that special help is given to those young people recovering from either mental health problems or addiction difficulties, given that there seems to be a disproportionately high number of such people among the young unemployed?

We can, and partly because of the extra resources that have been put in place in jobcentres, many thousands more people have been added to the strength of that particular front line. That obviously increases the personalisation of the service that jobcentres can offer, and it is part of the reason that 3.5 million people have been helped off jobseeker’s allowance and into jobs over the past year.

Last week, before he was forced to make his humiliating climbdown on tax increases, the Chief Secretary was boasting about the difficult decision to increase national insurance. Will he tell the House what the impact of that difficult decision would be on unemployment?

Experience suggests that general national insurance cuts and wage support have very limited impact on employment. Of course, taking those national insurance contributions out of the forward programme for tax would leave a £7 billion hole in the tax base. The Conservative party has yet to come clean with the public about how it intends to fill that gap.