Long-term youth unemployment in the South East is up by over a fifth (22 per cent) since the government came to power in May 2010, according to TUC analysis. The South East now has over 8,300 extra 16-24 year-olds out of work for six months or longer. The TUC research also shows that as long-term unemployment has rocketed government support for unemployed young people has fallen by 26 per cent following the replacement of the previous government’s Youth Guarantee (which included the Future Jobs Fund) with the new Youth Contract.

According to the TUC study, the government will spend £98m less this year on support for jobless young people claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) in England than was previously provided under the Youth Guarantee. For the South East this means a cut in funding of nearly £10m. The TUC is concerned that with the new funding levels under the Youth Contract dependent upon employers taking-up the government’s job subsidy places, the cuts could be even sharper. No statistics have yet been published on employer take-up levels but concerns have been raised by the manufacturers’ organisation the EFF that many employers do not know about the new scheme.

The TUC said the findings – published in the week that thousands plan to walk through central London as part of A Future That Works march and rally –highlighted the impact that austerity measures are having upon young people and the inadequate levels of support being given to them. The TUC believes that the funding cuts, combined with the axing of the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA), the hike in tuition fees and the proposed scrapping of housing benefit for under 25s, are making it much harder for young people to get on and find decent long-term work.
South East TUC Regional Secretary Megan Dobney said: “With such sharp cuts in support for young unemployed people, it’s no surprise that the government is failing to get to grips with this urgent problem. It is deeply concerning that many of the areas hit hardest by unemployment in our region are seeing such a steep drop in financial support for jobless youngsters.

“Long-term youth unemployment is a ticking time bomb under the South East’s and the nation’s finances, with severe consequences not just for young people but also for their communities and the country’s wider economic prospects. This crisis simply cannot be tackled on the cheap. These cuts are a false economy – failing to act now will cost us all in the longer-term.
“Rather than rationing opportunities for young people, through scrapping the EMA, raising tuition fees and cutting housing benefit, the government should be making it easier for them to get on and fulfil their full potential. We need a future that works and that is why thousands of young people, their parents and their families will be marching in London this Saturday.”

This article may seem to contradict an earlier post but it should be considered that this article refers to the region as a whole not just the area of the Medway Towns