The recession is creating a “lost generation” of young people who may never escape the trap of long-term unemployment, local authority leaders said today.
An investigation by the Local Government Association (LGA) found 38,000 people aged 18 to 24 were made redundant between October and December – about a quarter of the total thrown out of work.
A further quarter of redundancies affected men over 50.
The association said these two vulnerable groups need urgent help if they are to avoid being consigned to an employment scrapheap when the economy recovers.
The LGA said: “Previous recessions have left increasing numbers of people excluded from the labour market – in particular among the under-25s and over-50s.
“The recession of the early 1980s saw persistent unemployment in large northern towns in England, such as Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, while the downturn of the early 90s left long-term unemployment, mainly in Cornwall and parts of Staffordshire.”
It was already clear that some areas would emerge from recession quickly, while others might take a decade to recover fully, the LGA said, calling on the government to give local authorities a share of its £1bn fund for training and employment schemes. It said people at local level knew better than officials in Whitehall how to tailor training to the local jobs market to give younger and older workers the best hope of getting back into work.
Margaret Eaton, the LGA’s chairwoman, said: “Previous recessions have left tens of thousands of people unemployed for years, even decades, and stuck in a dependency culture without the skills that they need to get a job.
“People in their early 20s often don’t have the experience or training to get into the job market, and those over 50 can find it impossible to retrain when they’re made redundant. These are the people most at risk, and these are the people who need targeted support. It is deeply worrying that there could be even more young people simply dropping out of the system, who don’t have a job, aren’t in college or in training.
“It is clear that a national, one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with the recession simply isn’t sufficient to deal with the scale of the problem. The research shows that the best way to get people back into work is for more decisions about employment and training to be taken at the local level.”
The LGA’s intervention came after a report this week from the Children’s Society, warning that young people are bearing the brunt of the recession. The charity said a survey of 17- to 19-year-olds found 22% could not find a job because of the downturn in the economy. This raised fears that increasing numbers of young people are becoming “Neets” – not in education, employment or training.
View the Original Article.