New report highlights youth unemployment battle

Tuesday, January 29, 2013
6.30 AM

A new report published today shows youth unemployment in the UK has risen at a greater rate than in any of the world’s other top economies.

A study by the Work Foundation found that Britain is now only behind Spain and Greece for youth joblessness in OECD countries.

The rate of youth unemployment grew at a faster rate between the start of the recession in 2008 and 2011 than in any of the G8 countries – those with the world’s largest economies.

Last night, Norwich North MP Chloe Smith who is spearheading the Norwich For Jobs campaign to reduce the number of out-of-work young people said this latest report help to further illustrate the need for action when it came to tackling the problem.

The Work Foundation said the issue could not be attributed just to the recession because other countries facing economic problems have fared better.

It urged the government to follow the lead of countries like Germany and Denmark by taking measures including more apprenticeships and increased training.

Lizzie Crowley, the report’s author, said: “In many other developed nations, youth unemployment has remained low despite the global downturn.

“However, in the UK youth unemployment as a proportion of 15 to 24-year-olds has increased at a faster rate over the course of the recession than both the European and OECD averages.

“While the reasons for this are complex, it’s clear that the UK can learn from the experiences of those countries that have fared much better in terms of youth unemployment.

“The government should focus on those policies that have been shown to work, cherry-picking the best responses from other countries and adapting them to the needs of the UK labour market.”

Youth unemployment among 15 to 24-year-olds had increased in the UK by 35pc to 916,000 between 2008 and 2011, compared to an average of 15pc in the G8 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, UK and United States).

Germany, Russia and Japan had actually seen a reduction in youth unemployment in the same period.

Last night Norwich MP Miss Smith said: “This report shows the extent of the challenge of youth unemployment, as well as the nature of the global race which Britain is in.

“However, the latest UK unemployment figures do show that employment has been rising for 15 months, and that unemployment is lower now than when this government took office. The current vacancy figures do also show that there are jobs out there in Britain.

“I want us in Norwich to do our bit to help local young people get into work.”