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Youth Employment

Volume 572: debated on Tuesday 10 December 2013

The number of young people receiving jobseeker’s allowance is 93,000 lower than in May 2010, and youth unemployment is falling, although the Government recognise that more can be done. As my right hon. Friend the Chancellor announced last week, we are abolishing employers national insurance contributions for those aged under 21, funding jobcentres to help 16 and 17-year-olds who are not at school to find work with training, and piloting a new mandatory skills scheme for jobseekers aged between 18 and 21 who do not have qualifications in basic maths and English.

Is my hon. Friend aware that in Warwick the number of young people who are not in education, employment or training has almost halved in the last three years, from 4.6% in 2010 to 2.8% in 2013? That is a move in the right direction, but what other steps are being taken to reduce the number of NEETs and increase the number of young people in work and training?

I congratulate my hon. Friend. I am sure that the fall is a result of much work in his constituency, doubtless led by him. He is a doughty champion of his constituents.

The Government are also investing in apprenticeships. Over half a million more are being created, including 20,000 more high-level apprenticeships, as was announced last week. The Youth Contract is helping up to half a million young people to take up employment and education opportunities, and in the three months since September the number of 18 to 24-year-olds in employment rose by 46,000. We know that there is more to be done, but things are moving in the right direction.