North West is worst hit region, with 53% increase in the number of 16-24 year-olds out of work for six months or longer. TUC report comes as tens of thousands prepare for 20 October protests


Long-term youth unemployment in England has increased by 23% since the government came to power in May 2010, according to TUC analysis published today.

The North West is the worst hit region with a 53% increase (26,000 youngsters) in the number of 16-24 year-olds out of work for six months or longer, followed by the East of England (40%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (29%).

London is the only area to have witnessed a small fall.

The TUC research also shows that as long-term unemployment has rocketed government support for unemployed young people has fallen by 26%, following the replacement of the previous government’s Youth Guarantee (which included the Future Jobs Fund) with the new Youth Contract.

According to the TUC study, the government will spend £98m less this year on support for jobless young people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) in England than was previously provided under the Youth Guarantee.

The North West, which has seen the biggest rise in long-term youth unemployment, has also witnessed the largest drop in funding – with nearly £16m cut from budgets.

The TUC is concerned that with the new funding levels under the Youth Contract dependent upon employers taking-up the government’s job subsidy places, the cuts could be even sharper.

No statistics have yet been published on employer take-up levels, but concerns have been raised by the manufacturers’ organisation, the EFF, that many employers do not know about the new scheme.

The TUC said the findings – published in the week that thousands plan to walk through central London as part of A Future That Works march and rally –highlighted the impact that austerity measures are having upon young people and the inadequate levels of support being given to them.

The TUC believes that the funding cuts, combined with the axing of the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA), the hike in tuition fees and the proposed scrapping of housing benefit for under 25s, are making it much harder for young people to get on and find decent long-term work.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “With such sharp cuts in support for young unemployed people, it’s no surprise that the government is failing to get to grips with this urgent problem.

“It is deeply concerning that many of the areas hit hardest by unemployment are seeing such a steep drop in financial support for jobless youngsters.

“Long-term youth unemployment is a ticking time bomb under the nation’s finances, with severe consequences not just for young people but also for their communities and the country’s wider economic prospects.

“This crisis simply cannot be tackled on the cheap. These cuts are a false economy – failing to act now will cost us all in the longer-term.

“Rather than rationing opportunities for young people, through scrapping the EMA, raising tuition fees and cutting housing benefit, the government should be making it easier for them to get on and fulfil their full potential.

“We need a future that works and that is why thousands of young people, their parents and their families will be marching in London this Saturday.”

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