With immigration and jobs, it pays to always stick to the facts

We must keep our foot on the pedal; youth unemployment won't come down on its own

 

Share

Wednesday’s employment  figures reminded us that, when it comes to the immigration debate, we need to stick to the facts.

Remember the beginning of the year? The endless predictions from Ukip and others that, as transitional controls on Bulgarians and Romanians entering the UK expired, we would find ourselves overrun, with British workers paying the price? Nigel Farage’s party even issued a leaflet claiming that we were opening our doors to 29 million Romanians and Bulgarians. That would be quite something. The combined population of these countries is actually 28.6 million. 

In reality, there has been no such surge. On the contrary, there has been a modest drop. And the real story told by Wednesday’s numbers is that a record number of people are now in work in the UK and, crucially, youth unemployment is coming down.

This is extremely welcome news. Youth unemployment has been a problem since well before the crisis in our banks. Between Tony Blair entering Downing Street and Gordon Brown leaving it, the number of young people out of work rocketed from 650,000 to 930,000 – an increase of 40 per cent.

The numbers are, of course, still too high. Any young person having their hopes and ambitions thwarted by a lack of opportunities is, in my view, a young person too many.

But what is clear is that the Coalition’s rehabilitation of the economy is working and the emphasis we have placed on helping young people must be continued – whoever is in power after the election next year. For me this will be the great test of the next Parliament. We are eliminating the deficit, we have restored growth, but can we make Britain a place where every young man and woman can get ahead?

I believe we can. This Coalition has already invested in: more apprenticeships than ever; new technical colleges across the country; tens of thousands of work experience places; billions in additional funding to help the poorest pupils in our schools. We’re scrapping the National Insurance businesses pay when they employ anyone under 21.

Some 1.7 million jobs have been created in the private sector – jobs the Liberal Democrats are determined to protect as we fight to keep Britain in the EU. Despite the controversy surrounding tuition fees, I insisted on a fairer, more affordable system and, right now, more young men and women are in university than ever before.

What matters is that we keep our foot on the pedal: youth unemployment won’t come down on its own.  We must actively create the opportunities for them to seize. This has been a priority for me in this Parliament. After this good news I am even more determined to make it a priority in the next.

Nick Clegg is the Deputy Prime Minister

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
With an eye for strategy: Stephen Fry’s General Melchett and Rowan Atkinson’s Edmund Blackadder  

What Cameron really needs is to turn this into a khaki election

Matthew Norman
An Italian policeman stands guard as migrants eat while waiting at the port of Lampedusa to board a ferry bound for Porto Empedocle in Sicily. Authorities on the Italian island of Lampedusa struggled to cope with a huge influx of newly-arrived migrants as aid organisations warned the Libya crisis means thousands more could be on their way  

Migrant boat disaster: EU must commit funds to stop many more dying

Alistair Dawber
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own