Stephen Timms, the Member of Parliament for East Ham and Shadow Minister for Employment, questioned David Cameron about youth unemployment at today’s Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.
Mr Timms asked: “With youth unemployment now at the highest level since records began, will the Prime Minister reconsider his decision to scrap the Future Jobs Fund?” David Cameron responded that he did not support the Future Jobs Fund, but that the government would announce alternative proposals.
The Future Jobs Fund was established by the Labour Government in 2009, to deliver a jobs guarantee for young people. Through the scheme, the Government guaranteed work placements of at least six months for long-term unemployed people aged 18-24, providing them with the skills, experience and confidence they needed to secure a permanent position.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Timms said: “The Future Jobs Fund was one of the most important reasons why the last government was able to keep unemployment rates below what many expected, particularly among young people. Long periods of unemployment do lasting – and sometimes permanent – damage to the life chances of young people.
“It is all very well the Prime Minister saying that he will develop an alternative scheme, but words are not enough. His government’s inaction, combined with his decision to reverse measures introduced by the previous government, is already causing damage. The most recent employment statistics, published last month, showed that youth unemployment increased to 951,000 – the highest level since comparable records began in 1992.
“If government complacency continues, disregarding the wellbeing of young people, we will all suffer for decades to come.”