Coronavirus: Million young people could be struck by looming jobs crisis, report claims

Government schemes fall ‘significantly short of what is needed’, research to warn

Vincent Wood
Sunday 18 October 2020 17:00 BST
Rishi Sunak talks with staff as he visits a Jobcentre Plus in Barking, east London
Rishi Sunak talks with staff as he visits a Jobcentre Plus in Barking, east London (POOL/AFP/Getty)

Up to a million young people could be struck by a jobs crisis in the coming weeks, it has been reported, as local authorities urge the government to offer more support to safeguard jobs.

Those 16 to 24-year-olds who are not in full-time work or studying are expected to face significant trouble as they attempt to enter the workforce, according to a study by leading labour market expert Professor Paul Gregg seen by The Observer.

The research apportioned some of the blame for the struggles facing the age group at the end of the government’s furlough scheme, as well as the number of school leavers flooding the job market and the small number of available positions, the report added.

Due to be published on Monday, the study reportedly warns currently available guarantees and schemes aimed at young adults in the UK fall “significantly short of what is needed”.

It comes as the government is urged to expand its support to locked down regions — with officials in Manchester urging Westminster to expand provisions for workers before it accepts the conditions of a harsher tier 3 local lockdown.

Meanwhile the former prime minister Gordon Brown has claimed the wage support laid on by the current chancellor does not go far enough, telling a Welsh Labour Party event: “I believe the chancellor will have to come back to House of Commons quite soon to update, revise and change his plans because it is simply not adequate for the circumstances of today.”

“We praised him in March for doing the furlough and I’m afraid now he has proved he is not doing enough to help us through this crisis, and unemployment will definitely rise very fast if he doesn’t take further action”, he added.

Last month redundancies rose to their highest level in more than a decade, while the number of unemployed people in the UK jumped by 138,000, increasing UK unemployment to 1.5 million.

In turn, the unemployment rate rose to 4.5 per cent, up from 4.1 per cent in the previous quarter — while employment among those aged 16 to 24 dropping to a record low of 3.5 million.

A Treasury spokesperson told The Observer: “We’ve backed hundreds of thousands of young people to find good jobs through the £2bn kickstart scheme, invested in increasing the number of apprenticeships, traineeships and work coaches, and continue to help unemployed people of all ages back to work through our multi-million pound job entry targeted support programme.

“Our focus from the outset has been on supporting those in need — and analysis shows that the youngest and poorest benefited most from our initial economic interventions.

“This support will continue as we look to revitalise the economy, build back better and create, protect and support jobs.”

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