Government denies 'penalising' young people with plan to force them to attend jobs 'boot camp'

The policy will take away benefits from the young if they don't sign up

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The Government’s plan to force young people to attend a “boot camp” if they cannot find a job does not amount to “penalising” them, ministers have argued.

The new policy, to be in place by April 2017, will push people aged 18-21 into a three-week “intensive activity programme” on pain of losing their social security payments.

Young people will be required to attend the scheme even if they assess that the programme – which will include practice job applications and interviews – will be of no help to them.

But questioned on BBC Radio 4 as to why those targeted by the Government should be penalised for being unable to find a job, Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock said:

“We’re penalising nobody because nobody who does the right thing and plays by the rules will lose their benefits. This is about offering more support to young people.”

“The goal here is simple which is that we want to end long term young unemployment.”

Anyone in the target group who does not sign up to the new scheme within a month will have their benefits income sanctioned.

 

Mr Hancock also defended the Coalition Government’s decision to scrap schools’ obligation to find work experience for their students.

He said the policy had degraded into a box-ticking exercise and that many of the placements pupils were sent on were not serious in nature.

Mr Hancock is overseeing the new policy, which is being steered through government by a new ‘Earn or Learn Taskforce’.

With 85 of per cent of young people in work or training, the new scheme could affect as many as 15 per cent of youngsters

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