In 2010, youth unemployment (18-24 year olds) had reached nearly 20%. Nearly one million people from my generation were unemployed.
Despite our hard work, doors were closed to us. Youth unemployment is particularly damaging – it can trigger illness, it harms wellbeing and really affects a young person’s finances. Being unemployed as a young adult means you might never catch up. Youth unemployment ruins lives, harms communities and does lasting damage to our economy. It also costs the Exchequer billions of pounds.
In my role as an Economic Advisor, I became involved with a brilliant campaign called The Million Jobs Campaign. The campaign aimed to reduce youth unemployment through a series of measures – the flagship policy was to remove the National Insurance contributions that employers had to pay for young people. By hiring one of the young unemployed it was estimated that an employer would save £520 each year, a nice sum of money for many small businesses and a real incentive to give young people a chance.
I am delighted that since April 6th 2015, employers do not have to pay National Insurance for under 21s. This was a really important step that builds on the work this Government has already done to further reducing youth unemployment and will help young people forge a bright future for themselves.