MP calls for data on local young people finding work through Youth Contract

MP John Healey has called on the Work and Pensions Secretary to reveal figures about the number of local young people who have been able to take up a job as a result of the Government’s Youth Contract.

The Government have so far failed to release any information about what, if any, impact attempts to combat youth unemployment are having in Rotherham and Barnsley.

In light of this, Mr Healey is conducting his own local call for evidence.

It comes after reports that companies could be taking on temporary workers and repeatedly pocketing the £2,275 government “wage incentive”, due every time they take on a young unemployed person for at least six months. But there is nothing to stop them getting rid of workers and hiring new ones after collecting their payment.

Mr Healey said he did not want young people – such as those collecting their A-level results today – to be left on the scrapheap.

In Rotherham and Barnsley nearly 5,000 18-24 year-olds are stuck on unemployment benefits and 2,105 have been claiming for more than six months.

In a letter to Iain Duncan Smith, the Wentworth & Dearne MP said: “These numbers represent real young people; youngsters with skills, talents and aspirations who risk being left on the scrapheap because of the decisions that you and other members of the government have made.

“In 2009, when youth unemployment rose as a result of the economic crisis, Labour took bold action by setting up the Future Jobs Fund. It created over 100,000 jobs for young people across the country and 10,000 in Yorkshire and the Humber alone.

“By contrast, the response of this government to the much higher youth unemployment rates of more recent years has been frankly pathetic.

“In South Yorkshire we remember well the devastating effects that previous Conservative governments have had on unemployment in our region.

“I am determined to do all I can to prevent your government creating a lost generation in Rotherham and Barnsley.”

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Labour has discovered that the government are not recording how many of the jobs created through the Youth Contract are temporary.

The Youth Contract has already been criticised for helping just 21,500 young people to start new jobs and just 5,000 into work for more than six months.

The scheme is on course to miss its target by 92%. Meanwhile, almost a million young people are seeking work, including 100,000 in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Mr Healey criticised the government for refusing to release any local or regional breakdown of the number of jobs created by the Youth Contract.

He has asked, under the Freedom of Information Act, for data on the number of people in Rotherham and Barnsley benefiting from the youth contract and those in temporary jobs.

The MP is looking for local young people, parents, colleges and employers to inform him of any experiences they have had with the Youth Contract and what they suggest the government should do to bring down youth unemployment in the area. They can write to him at or 79 High Street, Wath-upon-Dearne, S63 7QB.