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 as of April 6th this year, employers do not have to pay National Insurance for under 21s. This is a really important step that builds on the work this Government has already done to further reducing youth unemployment. In May 2010, youth unemployment in Dulwich and West Norwood was 9% and I’m pleased as of Feb 2015, this had fallen to 3.9%. It means 580 more young people are in work, developing their skills and building their future.