In an effort to boost recruitment and ease unemployment amid the recession, the government has announced plans to guarantee every Briton under the age of 25 a job, Ã‚Â if they have been out of work for more than six months.
The government has published an employment white paper – Building Britain’s Recovery – announcing plans that such young people would be offered either a job, training or work experience once they have been unemployed for six months.
According to the Department of Work and Pensions, every person who has been on benefits for six months will be offered the guarantee that they will be at least Ã‚Â£40 better off a week when they move into work.
Yvette Cooper said:
“In the 1980s youth unemployment continued to rise for four years after the recession ended. A generation of talent was wasted.Ã‚Â We are determined that must never happen again, so we will guarantee a job, training or work experience at six months for 18 to 24 year olds.
“And, because we believe that work is the best way out of poverty we are continuing with radical reform to the welfare system. This means that everyone – be they lone parents, carers or disabled people will get the support they need, not only to get work – but to stay in work.Ã‚Â We will also guarantee that people will be better off in a job than on benefits.”
Ministers believe that unemployment and youth unemployment will continue to rise further in the New Year, but the Government intends is to work with businesses and employers to aim to get youth unemployment falling in the second half of next year.
The White Paper also sets out more help for older workers, professionals, lone parents and carers as part of a wide ranging package of support designed to help jobseekers.
Ã‚Â£2,500 incentive for employers to take apprentices
Alongside the White Paper, Ministers launched a cross-Government 16-24 participation strategy, Investing in Potential, setting out what the Government is doing to maximise the number of young people aged 16 to 24 in education, training and employment. Including a special financial incentive to enable employers to take on 200 apprentices in the Schools and Children’s Workforce and a total of Ã‚Â£12.5million for up to 5,000 ‘golden hellos’ of Ã‚Â£2,500 to encourage employers to take on new 16 and 17 year old apprentices.
Iain Wright, Minister for 14-19 Reform said:
“Investing in young people during the economic downturn is a vital commitment to ensure that the tough economic climate does not ruin the prospects of a generation of young people. We have announced an additional Ã‚Â£202m, which together with additional funding secured through Budget 2009, will fund an extra 142,500 learners in 2010-11 through the September Guarantee.
“Apprenticeships are a key route to building the national skills base and a fantastic way for young people to progress in the workplace and they make good business sense. Thousands of employers are already taking on apprentices – but it is right that we help make it easier for them.“
Kevin Brennan, Minister for Further Education, Skills and Apprenticeships said:
“We must invest for growth, and that means investing in our young people. That is why this Government is expanding apprenticeships, increasing the number of university places, and is making sure that young unemployed people get the skills they need to get work and get on at work.
The White Paper Ã‚Â£400m package is funded by savings because unemployment is lower than expected in this year’s Budget.
How’s it been received?
Commenting on the Government’s Jobs White Paper, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
‘The new ‘better off in work’ guarantee shows the Government has recognised that some people moving off benefits into very low paid work do not bring home any more money. They are right to try to correct this.
‘The promise of 100,000 new jobs, apprenticeships and training places is good news for nearly one million young people at risk of long-term unemployment.
‘With long-term unemployment still going up rapidly, making the Youth Guarantee available after six months is also a welcome and necessary investment.
‘However, the Government must continue to offer job and training guarantees to all those at risk of lengthy periods of joblessness.’
Employer’s representatives also welcomed the White Paper.Ã‚Â John Cridland CBI Deputy Director-General, said:Ã‚Â Ã‚Â “The UK’s flexible labour market has helped keep the jobless total during the recession lower than many had feared. This white paper recognises that and offers some useful approaches to getting more people back into work. We particularly welcome the ‘Back to Work’ guarantee. People who accept an offer of work should not be worse off than those who choose to reject it.”
On the new apprenticeship support scheme, which offers companies Ã‚Â£2,500 to take on a 16-17 year old apprentice, Mr Cridland said:
“We’re pleased that the Government has adopted this CBI proposal from the summer to help deal with rising youth unemployment. The recession has left many firms struggling to provide apprenticeships, so this extra funding will be very welcome. This will give more young people a positive start to their careers.”
On reforms to JobCentre Plus services, Mr Cridland said:
“We hope that this additional focus will lead to simpler and better quality interaction with JobCentres, making sure more candidates can use them as a route to getting back to work. Businesses appreciate the improvements already made to JobCentre Plus, including changes to the Rapid Response Service and Local Employment Partnerships.”
And on flexible working, Mr Cridland said:
“The white paper does not propose extra rules on flexible working, which reflects the success of the current ‘right to request’ approach. The system works because it relies on open discussion between staff and employers, and that is not something that further legislation would encourage.”
WHile the Institute of Director’s struck a more sceptical note.Ã‚Â Miles Templeman, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:
“(The) White Paper contains some positive steps in the right direction, but it fails to tackle a number of key obstacles to employers taking on new staff. Over-regulation of the labour market is a persistent problem and until the Government carries out a root-and-branch reform of the employment law framework, businesses will continue to find taking on unemployed young people unnecessarily difficult. For starters, the Government needs to make sure that new regulations affecting the hiring of agency workers are as simple as possible.”
“It is absolutely vital that people are better off in work than on benefits, but it would be better to achieve this through comprehensive reform to the benefits system rather than introducing a new benefit for people in work.”
1. Today’s White Paper is published online at: www.dwp.gov.uk/buildingbritainsrecovery
2. The White Paper measures announced today include:
Help now for people who have lost their jobs:
- A guarantee of a job, training or work experience after six months unemployment for every young person
- Day one help for unemployed people to set up their own business, including a Ã‚Â£50 a week self-employment credit for people who have been unemployed for three months while they get started
- Intensive, specialist help for unemployed professionals and people over 50
Measures to get people off benefits and into work:
- A Better Off In Work Guarantee for everyone on benefits for six months to make sure they are at least Ã‚Â£40 per week better off in a job, through a new Back to Work credit
- Extending expectations to look for work to partners of benefit claimants
- Making it compulsory for young unemployed people to take up the job, training or work experience before they reach ten months of unemployment
- Ensuring that Housing Benefit incentivises work by offering a Transition into Work payment that maintains the benefit at the out of work rate for a set period of time – making the transition smoother and simpler.
A blueprint to fulfilling employment:
- Family Friendly Working Hours Taskforce with leading employers to make recommendations on making work flexible for parents and increasing the availability of part-time work
- Consultation on proposals to help carers balance work with their responsibilities including leave for hospital visits, or to care for someone with a terminal illness