PM vows to end youth unemployment

Published: Monday 20th October 2014 by The News Editor

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The Prime Minister has vowed to end youth unemployment in the next Parliament as the Tories set out details of the welfare squeeze that will pay for their plan to create millions of new apprenticeships.

An extra 40,000 households will be hit as the benefits cap is reduced from £26,000 to £23,000 under the policy, saving £135 million a year.

The money will help fund three million new apprenticeships, with leading businesses including Microsoft, Ford, Airbus and Nestle supporting David Cameron’s goal.

The Prime Minister said the plan to invest an extra £1 billion in apprenticeships would help young people “make something of themselves” .

The Tories have committed to create the new apprenticeships by 2020 if Mr Cameron is returned to No 10 in next May’s general election, paid for by lowering the benefits cap and cutting welfare payments to 18 to 21-year-olds.

Some 70,000 households in total will be affected by lowering the cap, around 40,000 of which would be affected for the first time, according to the Conservatives’ figures.

T he maximum loss – on top of the effects of the existing cap – would be £60 per week, with an average weekly loss of around £40 or £25 for those newly capped.

Removing housing benefit from 18 to 21-year-olds on Jobseekers’ Allowance will save a further £120 million annually and affect up to 30,000 young people – although the Tories say the figure will be lower because of a series of exemptions.

Access to Jobseeker’s Allowance for 18 to 21-year olds will be abolished and replaced with a time-limited Youth Allowance, after which young people will have to take an apprenticeship, a traineeship, or do daily community work for their benefits.

Claimants on the community work placements will have to do 30 hours a week for six months, 10 hours of job search activity a week, and also show they are doing everything they can to find paid work.

The work placements could include cleaning up litter and graffiti, making meals for local elderly pensioners or working for charities.

Mr Cameron said: “Because of difficult decisions we will make on welfare, we will deliver three million apprenticeships by 2020.

“This is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan to secure a better future for Britain.

“It will help give us the skills to compete with the rest of the world. And it will mean more hope, more opportunity, and more security for our young people, helping them get on in life and make something of themselves.

“We have already doubled apprenticeships this Parliament. We will finish the job in the next and end youth unemployment.”

The Conservatives estimate the cost of replacing classroom-based further education with apprenticeships will be around £240 million and introducing the new six-month time limit, community work placements, traineeships and extra work experience for 16 to 18-year-olds will cost around £85 million.

On top of the reduced benefit cap and the end of housing benefit for jobless 18 to 21-year-olds, the party estimates a further £75 million will be saved through young people moving off benefits more quickly as a result of the reforms.

Published: Monday 20th October 2014 by The News Editor

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