THE BLOG

The Government's Failure to Tackle Youth Unemployment is Ridiculous

23/01/2015 12:41 GMT | Updated 23/03/2015 09:59 GMT

The unemployment figures for the three months to November have been released and it's good news once again: national unemployment is down 58,000, meaning that 30.8 million people are in work. This fantastic news means that it's time to celebrate by going out on the tiles and then filling up an A&E unit.

But if you trawl through all the fanfare, after watching George Osborne's cap fill up with feathers and pretending that the local food bank no longer exists, you'll discover that the latest statistics reveal another truth: youth employment (16 to 24-year-olds) rose by 30,000 to 764,000, meaning that 17% of young people are unemployed compared to just 5.8% of the total adult population. Since overall unemployment is 1.9 million, it therefore means that young people make up nearly half the number of unemployed people in the country. You have to wonder if darling Georgie might not be the Second Coming after all.

My financial skills stretch to the ability to use a calculator (except the square root button) and that is all. I have a GCSE in maths but I may as well have spent two years studying for a qualification in mole hills for all the good that's done me. But even an economic ignoramus like myself can comprehend the simple fact that prioritising giving jobs to older people over young people is not a good long term economic plan - which is what the government is supposed to be providing.

Despite the removal of the retirement age, the likelihood is that most people will at some point want to stop working and claim their pension, spending it on exotic cocktails or something similar. This will mean that the young people of this generation will be called upon to fill the gap. However, because of the lack of previous opportunities, these workers will lack the necessary high level competency of skills required in such a developed country as the UK; and this isn't going to support the economy further down the line when George Osborne is struggling to survive off his own miserly pension.

The figures also show that the government's scheme to keep 16 and 17-year-olds in England in education or training until their 18th birthday has obviously failed; theoretically it should have reduced youth unemployment statistics because it means that less people are eligible to be included. The idea should additionally have created more apprenticeships in order for young people to be in employment while learning essential skills, but, alas, these too have not materialised.

The government has ignored the growing issue of youth unemployment for too long; to stop it from becoming even worse (unimaginable, I know), young people need to be allowed a tighter grasp on the jobs ladder. Two good ways to do this would be to create far more apprenticeships (which at the moment are about as easy to catch as a dodo) and encourage employers to train young people rather than taking the marginally easier route of employing older workers.

Ordinarily, an impending election would whip politicians into a mad frenzy of desperately trying to rectify such a disaster; then things might actually change. Another good reason for young people to vote.