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Youth Employment

Volume 641: debated on Monday 21 May 2018

Youth employment has risen by 150,000 since 2010 and now stands at 3.86 million. The UK has the third highest youth employment in the G7 and the proportion of all 16 to 24-year-olds in work or full-time education now stands at 85%.

Youth unemployment has fallen by 43% since 2010. Will the Secretary of State join me in welcoming the work in Moray during Meaningful May, when 93 students have taken part in work placements, taking the total for this year to 330? Will she praise the 186 employers who have facilitated these projects and explain what further the Department is doing to get more young people into work?

I will indeed welcome the work that is being done in Moray not only by all the work coaches and the businesses there, but by my hon. Friend, who does so much in his local area. On top of that, Scotland has a different system in place, with the youth obligation traineeships supporting work experience, supporting sector-based work academies through Skills Development Scotland, and supporting and getting people excited about going into a job—excited about what they can do and what they can offer Scotland and the world.

Will the Secretary of State commit to raising the minimum wage for young people so that they are not subject to lower rates of pay, and to enacting a real living wage, as Labour will, so that this Government’s promise of making work pay is not an empty one?

Obviously, the hon. Lady will know that we have increased the living wage so that the lowest-paid workers have had the fastest wage increase in 20 years. That is what we are doing. What we will do—we are keeping this under constant review—is give support to young people. First and foremost, there are the apprenticeships, the traineeships, the work experience and the education we can give them, all of which are at record highs.

15. The all-party parliamentary group for youth employment, together with some other APPGs, are hearing evidence as to how the hospitality industry can help to boost employment for young people, as well as be a career option. Once the report is written, will the Secretary of State, or perhaps one of her Ministers, accept an invitation to hear from the group? (905449)

I thank my hon. Friend for the work he does on the APPG. I know how important youth employment rates are to him and the group. It will either be me or one of my colleagues—perhaps we will all be there at the APPG once the work has been completed. We are putting the right building blocks in place for young people. It is about education. It is about that work experience. Many young people have never had work experience, so they do not have the soft skills. That is what we are trying to put in place and we would be delighted to go to the APPG.

The Tory party launched yet another policy group this morning. Is it not about time that these groups were given some serious work about how we really tackle youth unemployment, how we get more kids into real apprenticeships, and how we tackle child poverty, which is not going down?

I might not have said it enough today, so I will put it on the record again: youth unemployment is down 43% since 2010. The number of children not in education, employment or training is down 370,000 since 2010. That is what we are doing. We are providing the building blocks to support young people and to get them into a job, living independently. That is what a Conservative Government does—watch and learn!