Young people have been failed by the coalition; and Labour recognises that

Should it win the General Election next year, Labour will guarantee starter jobs for anyone between 18 and 24 who have been out of work for a year.

Should it win the General Election next year, Labour will guarantee starter jobs for anyone between 18 and 24 who have been out of work for a year.

The Compulsory Jobs Guarantee will be funded for the whole of the next parliament and will mean than any young person out of work for 12 months will receive a paid starter job. They will risk losing their benefits if they fail to take it.

The policy will be paid for by a tax on bankers’ bonuses and restricting pensions tax relief for people earning over £150,000 a year. The scheme will work by the government paying workers’ wages and employer’s national insurance contributions for 25 hours a week over a period of six months.

Once the six months has elapsed, participants will undergo training provided by the employer and help in looking for a permanent position.

It is hard to find anything not to like about the CJG, and it is a relief that Labour has responded to criticism about the length of the scheme by ensuring it will be funded for the whole of the next parliament.

Some are objecting to the state funding employment; yet investing in jobs for young people will inevitably result in savings later on. Young people who spend long spells out of work are far more likely to struggle later on in life, due to gaps in their CV and employers looking dimly on a lack of work experience – they are also more likely to return to Jobseekers Allowance than those who find work early.

Youth unemployment cost the Britain £4.8bn in 2012. Labour’s policy is set to cost 1.9bn in the first year and £900m a year thereafter. Savings will also be made by scrapping current ineffective government schemes.

The coalition has won plaudits for its record on reducing unemployment, but its record on youth unemployment is far less impressive, with the number of 18 to 24-year-olds out of work for over a year rising from 25,800 in April 2010 to over 73,500 in 2013 – only coming down slightly as the recovery has taken hold.

Its flagship £1bn Youth Contract – which provides temporary wage subsidies to employers worth up to £2,275 if they provide a six-month ‘job start’ for under 25s – has also been branded a failure by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission.

Young people have fared worse than anyone since the recession. The jobless rate is 4.7 per cent among 35- to 49-year-olds, but nearly 36 per cent among 16- to 17-year-olds.

This is morally unacceptable, but it is also storing up problems (and costs) for the future, as young people’s prospects are limited and the confidence which comes from a steady job is lacking. It was estimated that youth unemployment cost the government £4.8 billion in 2012. It is also predicted to cost a further £2.9 billion a year and £6.3 billion per annum lost output.

Young unemployed people have been failed by the coalition; with this policy Labour has recognised that, and appears determined not to make the same mistake.

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