Local welcome for launch of Youth Contract to tackle unemployment

Young people at work

Cllr Ann Holtom has strongly welcomed the launch by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg of the government's Youth Contract. The scheme will target £1 billion pounds of public money with the aim of ensuring that all jobless young people are earning or learning again before long-term damage is done.

Starting next April and over three years, the Youth Contract will provide at least 410,000 new work places for 18-24 year olds. The package includes:

* 160,000 wage subsidies and 250,000 new work experience placements

* At least 20,000 more incentive payments to encourage employers to take on young apprentices
* A new programme to help the most disengaged 16 and 17 year olds - getting them back to school or college, onto an apprenticeship or into a job with training.

Cllr Ann Holtom said: "With this announcement Nick Clegg has signalled how serious the coalition government is about the issue of youth unemployment. I fully support this scheme and sincerely hope it will bring much-needed relief to young people in our area. It combats the economic waste of youth unemployment and sends out a clear message that this government will not leave our young men and women on the scrap-heap. In government Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats have fought hard in the present climate to find £1bn but, as the Deputy Prime Minister has said, it is the right thing to do."

In his announcement of the Youth Contract, Nick Clegg also made clear that young people signing up to the scheme will have to keep to their side of the arrangement. Mr Clegg said: ""Despite the huge pressures on the public purse we're pulling out all the stops. But young people have to meet us halfway. If you break your side of the bargain, don't just expect to live your life on benefits."