Labour's youth jobs taskforce

As the Labour Party conference opens, the shadow Work and Pensions secretary explains the measures his party is taking to help Britain's young and unemployed.

Share
Related Topics

As Labour gathers in Manchester, we mark a terrible anniversary. It was exactly a year ago that the ranks of our young people out of work rose over a million. And it has stayed there every since.

Britain is now branded with a badge of shame amongst rich nations. Young people account for 40% of this country’s jobless – higher than anywhere else in the EU and double the European average.

That’s why Labour says youth unemployment needs urgent action.  So we won’t wait until 2015 to take on Britain’s youth jobs crisis. We will take action now.

Today I’m launching Labour’s Youth Jobs Taskforce to bring together Labour leaders from all over the UK in a new alliance with entrepreneurs, business leaders, trade unionists and the third sector to tackle this crisis of our times. It’s a taskforce that will galvanise action to give young people what they need most -  a chance.

All over Britain, it's now Labour’s local leaders blazing the trails in search of new ways to get young people into work. In Wales, Labour is creating 4,000 youth jobs by April 2013 with a bigger, better future jobs fund. The Glasgow Guarantee sets aside £25m to fight youth unemployment in the city including a 12 month job placement at the living wage for any young person unemployed for 12 weeks, plus the UK’s largest apprenticeship scheme. Liverpool City Council is guaranteeing every 16 or 17-year-old not in education, work or training, a training place or an apprenticeship.

In my home city of Birmingham, the new Labour administration has moved rapidly to create a Youth Employment Commission bringing together the council, JobCentrePlus, businesses and the third sector to coordinate a drive against youth unemployment. Manchester is widening the Youth Contract and backing employers who hire unemployed young people. Sheffield is creating an agency that supports SMEs taking on apprentices for the first time. In Cardiff, Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Newham and Barnsley, Labour is pioneering new ways to tackle the crisis.

Our job now is to draw on the best ideas anywhere – and turn them into action everywhere Labour is in power.

Sometimes, in party conference season there’s a lot more heat than light.

If there’s one thing I hope we’ll see this year, it’s this: the world in which Britain competes is changing fast. We have to prepare for a different kind of future. By the end of the next parliament, China may be the world’s largest economy. The balance of power of the world is tilting east. That’s a huge opportunity for Britain. But it’s a gigantic competitive challenge too. China is investing billions in new technology, in new science, in education. It produces more engineers than the US, South Korea, France, Germany and Britain - put together. We are not going to win in this new world by leaving a million of young people idle.

Iain Duncan Smith is fond of telling us that he found the inspiration for his work in Easterhouse in Glasgow’s East End. Well, yesterday I paid a visit of my own. To Joseph Wheatley College in the heart of the estate to meet a group of young people to talk about the future. They were very clear. Labour’s investment in education, in skills, in connecting young people to business and transforming horizons, ambitions – and hope. Yet Joseph Wheatley is being forced to lay off teachers as cuts kick in. These are the young people that Glasgow needs to succeed. And there’s a million more now out of work. Let us not be the generation that failed the future. The first bricks we lay to rebuild Britain are getting these young people into jobs.

Liam Byrne is shadow Work and Pensions Secretary

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Read Next
In 1215 the Magna Carta forced the English King (at the time King John) to respect the laws of the land and guaranteed rights and protections to his subjects  

Magna Carta will be 800 years old next year – the perfect reminder of the rights and freedoms we must hold dear

Nigel Farage
David Cameron and George Osborne tour building works at Manchester's Victoria Railway Station  

There’s more to the Tories caring about the North of England than meets the eye

Chris Blackhurst
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there