From the FT (subscription required):
“The coalition’s flagship programme to tackle youth unemployment is to be wound up early, amid claims that it has been an abject failure.
The £1bn youth contract wage incentive scheme was championed by Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat deputy prime minister, at the height of the recession as a way to help tackle youth unemployment. But with the jobs market rapidly improving and take-up of the programme falling substantially below projected levels, it is to be cut short next month.
Under the scheme employers were offered £2,275 if they provided a six-month “job start” for someone aged under 25.
But in the first year of the scheme up to May 2013 only 4,690 recruits completed their placements, against a target of 160,000 for the entire programme.
The scheme was supposed to last for three years from April 2012. But the Department for Work and Pensions has written to companies to warn that no claims will be accepted for any placements that start after August 6 this year – a month earlier than planned.”
This scheme relied on the private sector to employ unemployed young people and then claim back a wage subsidy from the government. The subsidy could be claimed on existing vacancies (not vacancies specially created) which was a flaw from the start, but despite this offer of a bung to the private sector for taking on young unemployed people, take-up has been woeful. While unemployment has fallen steadily over the last 12 months, youth unemployment remains high. There is still a need for more job opportunities for young people, and there is massive scope for being much more proactive in this sphere. Here are some other posts I’ve written on this subject: