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

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

Programme Test Manager

£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...

Secondary supply teachers needed in Peterborough

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary supply teac...

Modern Foreign Languages Teacher

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Full time German Supply Teacher...

Project Manager with some Agile experience

£45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Francois Hollande at the Paris summit on Iraq with ministers from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on 15 September  

What's going to happen in Syria and Iraq? A guide to the new anti-Isis coalition's global strategy

Jonathan Russell
The colours of autumn leaves are among the many pleasures of the coming season  

In Sickness and in Health: As autumn arrives, more of us should wear high-vis clothes

Rebecca Armstrong
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week