Nick Clegg: Youth Jobs My Top Priority For 2012

Nick Clegg's New Year's Resolution

Nick Clegg hailed vowed to make jobs for Britain's one million unemployed young people his top priority for 2012.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have all given their backing to the Government's Youth Contract jobs scheme.

Clegg and employment minister Chris Grayling are meeting firms such as Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, BT and Asda on Thursday to discuss what help can be given amid spiralling jobless figures.

The launch last year of the £1bn Youth Contract - after ministers scrapped Labour's Future Jobs Fund - was widely seen as a victory for the Liberal Democrats in the coalition.

Under the programme at least 410,000 work places will be found for 18 to 24-year-olds, with wage subsidies worth £2,275 handed to employers to take on 160,000 young people.

It will also create additional work experience places and £50 million will be spent on helping 16 and 17-year olds into training.

Clegg said: "Supporting people into work is my priority for 2012 and helping young people get proper lasting jobs is especially important.

"The Youth Contract will make sure every unemployed young person starts earning or learning again before long-term damage is done.

"But government can't do this alone, we need businesses to play their part too. That's why the support of the Confederation of British Industry, British Chambers of Commerce, British Retail Consortium and Federation of Small Businesses is such good news."

He encouraged businesses, including small employers, to sign up via a new website.

CBI director general John Cridland said: "The Youth Contract is good news for young people up and down the country. It will encourage firms to give a young inexperienced person a chance so that the scourge of youth unemployment can be tackled."


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