Report says 16 to 24-year-olds will struggle to find work when the furlough scheme ends this month

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The jobs crisis caused by coronavirus is set to hit up to one million young people within weeks, creating a ‘Covid generation’ who will struggle to find work, according to new research.

Leading labour market expert Paul Gregg, professor of economics and social policy at Bath University, claimed almost one million 16 to 24-year-olds who are not in full-time education or employment will struggle to find work when the furlough scheme ends this month.

The study, which will be published on Monday, said young people will face bleak prospects unless more support is offered.

It comes amid increasing tensions between the Government and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, over Westminster’s attempts to impose Tier 3 restrictions on northern regions.

Mr Burnham is set to call for parliament to intervene to break the deadlock by creating a system of support for young people.

On Sunday, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown also weighed in on the debate by warning that there is a ‘hidden army of young people who desperately need our help’.

The jobs crisis caused by coronavirus is set to hit up to one million young people within weeks, creating a 'Covid generation' who will struggle to find work, according to new research. Pictured: Chancellor Rishi Sunak

The jobs crisis caused by coronavirus is set to hit up to one million young people within weeks, creating a ‘Covid generation’ who will struggle to find work, according to new research. Pictured: Chancellor Rishi Sunak

Leading labour market expert Paul Gregg, professor of economics and social policy at Bath University, claimed almost one million 16 to 24-year-olds who are not in full-time education or employment will struggle to find work when the furlough scheme ends this month. Pictured: A young person walks past a closed shop in Manchester

Leading labour market expert Paul Gregg, professor of economics and social policy at Bath University, claimed almost one million 16 to 24-year-olds who are not in full-time education or employment will struggle to find work when the furlough scheme ends this month. Pictured: A young person walks past a closed shop in Manchester

Launching the Alliance for Full Employment, he said the country could not afford ‘another lost generation as we had in the 1980s.’

The furlough scheme, introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, paid employees 80 per cent of their wages while they were unable to work during the coronavirus lockdown and was designed to ensure their employers did not lay them off. 

Mr Gregg’s study, reported by The Guardian, claims that the end of the furlough support scheme, the scarcity of new job openings and the arrival of school and college leavers into the employment market will present young people with terrible prospects unless more support is forthcoming.

It also warns that Boris Johnson’s ‘opportunity guarantee’ to young people of an apprenticeship or an in-work placement, which he announced in June, falls ‘significantly short of what is needed.’

Writing in The Observer, Mr Brown said it is ‘barely believable’ that a million young people will need urgent support in two weeks’ time, when the furlough scheme ends.

On Sunday, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown also weighed in on the debate by warning that there is a 'hidden army of young people who desperately need our help'

On Sunday, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown also weighed in on the debate by warning that there is a ‘hidden army of young people who desperately need our help’ 

And, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme, he said: ‘This is an ethical issue, it is a moral issue.

‘One million young people unemployed. It is going back to the 1980s. I was shocked when I found out that this was the figure of young people who’ve not got anything to do.

‘It is a hidden army of young people who desperately need our help and we cannot, we just cannot, afford to have another lost generation as we had in the 1980s. A lost Covid generation.

‘It destroys self worth, it hurts family life. It shatters communities. It means that people find that relationships with other people are incredibly difficult.

‘It is something that is ethical because it is about our responsibilities to other people.’

He added: ‘If we allow 1 million young people, or numbers getting even close to that figure, to go for months without a job, just think of the cost in unemployment benefits.

A growing feud between Andy Burnham (pictured) and top ministers is set to intensify after the Labour mayor labelled Rishi Sunak 'the problem' in a row over tighter coronavirus restrictions in Greater Manchester

A growing feud between Andy Burnham (pictured) and top ministers is set to intensify after the Labour mayor labelled Rishi Sunak ‘the problem’ in a row over tighter coronavirus restrictions in Greater Manchester

‘Think of the cost in the way our community fabric is broken. We simply cannot afford not to act.

‘And of course training a young person is not that expensive compared with some of the furlough payments we have had to make.’

In September, the Government launched a £2billion ‘KickStart’ scheme to get young people into jobs as figures revealed a record-breaking 538,000 under-25s claimed Universal Credit in lockdown. 

However, Mr Brown told the BBC that the plan, launched by Chancellor Rishi Sunak,  ‘does not add up.’ 

He said: ‘It doesn’t deal with the problem. It is not possible under his proposals to get people back to work or to keep them in work in the way that he wanted. 

‘I have been looking at vacancies – so one vacancy, one job available but 2,900 people going for it Northumbria. 

‘One in Newcastle, 2,600, in the Midlands, 1,600 people going for one job. 

‘These are the terrible figures showing just how difficult it is going to be, particularly for young people. 

‘Out of school, out of college, sometimes without qualifications, sometimes not confident of their own position, who need help.

Under the KickStart scheme, employers will be able to offer work placements to benefit claimants with the state covering 100 per cent of the resulting minimum wage, national insurance and pension payments. 

 

On Sunday, Greater Manchester mayor Mr Burnham labelled Mr Sunak ‘the problem’ as the row over greater coronavirus restrictions escalated. 

The mayor of Greater Manchester, who has called for more financial support for the area ahead of plans to plunge it into a Tier 3 lockdown, has hit out at the Chancellor, who he says has made ‘wrong judgements throughout this’.

He also attacked Mr Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme as ‘poor judgement’, in an interview with New Statesman magazine. 

Mr Burnham and Conservative politicians in Greater Manchester are opposing the government’s Tier 3 measures, which will see pubs and bars closed in the area.

The two sides are currently locked in a stalemate over the proposals.  

Mr Burnham has called for a return to the generosity of the original furlough scheme that saw the Treasury pay 80 per cent of workers wages.

But Mr Sunak has only offered a 66 per cent subsidy for those whose firms forced to shut by Tier 3 measures.

Ahead of supposed talks set up for the weekend, which Mr Burnham’s office deny, the Greater Manchester mayor hit out at Mr Sunak in an interview with the New Statesman magazine: ‘I think the problem now is, to a large degree, the Chancellor. I think he’s made wrong judgements throughout this.’



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