Poplar & Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick wants youth employment to be a priority


- Credit: Archant

One of the major events of the year in Parliament is when the Chancellor reveals his budget for the year ahead. Economic recovery is at the forefront of everyone’s minds now more than ever. A better economy means something to every household whether it’s job security, better wages or just more opportunity.

The Chancellor will walk into the chamber confident that recent economic news means a job well done so far. It is undeniable the statistics show an economy in recovery with more people in work, lower inflation and the deficit down by a third. However we must look past the statistics if we’re going to be honest with ourselves and the rest of country on what kind of economic recovery we’re having.

A terrible thing to come out of the recession was a huge rise in youth unemployment. Young people had the rug pulled out from under them as opportunity and work completely dried up.

Although in some ways things are clearly not as bad as they were a few years ago the number of young people aged 18-24 claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for over a year has doubled under David Cameron - from 28,300 in May 2010 to 56,100 today.

Everyone will agree we cannot afford to waste the talents of thousands of young people and leave them stuck on the dole for years on end. It scars their lives, weakens our economy and adds billions to the social security bill. One proposal I will be supporting is Labour’s Compulsory Jobs Guarantee. The Jobs Guarantee will give every young person out of work in Tower Hamlets for more than 12 months a paid starter job which they will have to take up or lose their benefits.

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If the government introduced this measure today it would make a difference. Over 200 young people would benefit in Poplar and Limehouse and 4,685 would benefit in London. Now 200 may not sound like much but that’s 200 young people off the dole and 200 families reassured that their son or daughter is in work and making progress.

I’m not saying this job guarantee is the answer to our youth unemployment problem, lack of work isn’t the only reason why young people aren’t working. But what this proposal does show is we’re taking youth unemployment seriously which is why I think it’s the best thing to come out of the budget proposals from both sides.

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