Ian Austin MP has slammed the government’s decision to end a work programme for young people in the wake of new figures showing that long-term youth unemployment remains at three times the national average in Dudley.
The government announced in July that it would be ending its 18-21 Year Old Work Skills Pilot in the Black Country, including Dudley. The scheme aimed to improve the job prospects of 18-21 year olds on Jobseeker’s Allowance by improving their skills and experience of work.
Austin welcomed recent falls in unemployment in the Black Country but raised concerns that government action was needed to tackle youth unemployment in Dudley remained at three times the national average.
The latest figures from January show that 1 per cent of 18-24 year olds in the Black Country have been claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for over a year, compared to 0.3 per cent nationally. Long-term youth unemployment in the region has remained at least twice the national average in every month since 2010.
Austin has said that the figures show the need for investment in education, apprenticeships and jobs in the Black Country, and has written to the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith calling to renew efforts to tackle the problem.
Ian Austin said:
“The government is totally wrong to end its efforts to get young people in Dudley back into work at a time when long-term youth unemployment in our town is still three times the national average.
“We need to be boosting education and skills in Dudley if we’re going to attract new jobs and investment, but the government has decided to make this less of a priority.
“I want the government to offer real help for young people in our area by putting young people who have been unemployed for over a year into work and guaranteeing apprenticeships for every school leaver that gets decent qualifications.”
Dudley MP Ian Austin to meet 38 Degrees campaigners over TTIP threat to NHS
Dudley MP Ian Austin is to meet with 38 Degrees campaigners to hear their concerns about TTIP this Saturday (22nd September).
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a series of trade negotiations between the EU and US. TTIP is about reducing the regulatory barriers to trade for big business in areas such as the banking and food but could also affect public services such as the NHS.
The government’s plan to include healthcare in the negotiations over TTIP could increase the worrying fragmentation of health services already taking place under the Tories and could lead to privatisation.
Austin and 38 Degrees campaigners do not want to see the NHS or other public services included in the deal and having raising their concerns with the government.
Ian Austin said:
“We all agree we need to increase trade to bring jobs to places like the Black Country but public services like the NHS must be completely excluded from TTIP.
“When government policies have put one in ten jobs at Russell’s Hall at risk and people like Nigel Farage want to replace the NHS with an American style insurance system, we must ensure the NHS is protected.
“What the Government should be doing is negotiating the TTIP deal in a way that is open and accountable, and generate jobs and growth here in Britain.
“I think it's really important that the government now engages with campaigners, and resolves concerns about the role of healthcare in the deal so we can focus on drawing up a plan that delivers on jobs and growth without threatening public services.”