Dudley MP Ian Austin has slammed the closure of a local work programme as long-term youth unemployment continues to soar.
Dudley MP Ian Austin 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.”