A shot in the arm for job-creation schemes

Keith Hutson (Lib Dem) who will stand in the Warley ward
Keith Hutson (Lib Dem) who will stand in the Warley ward

THE Government’s new £1 billion “Youth Contract” programme to encourage employers to take on younger workers has been welcomed by Calderdale Liberal Democrats.

They say the scheme will help to get as many unemployed young people earning or learning as quickly as possible.

There are currently 1,960 young people claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance in Calderdale.

“We owe it to them to make sure that, even in tough economic times, we do everything we can to find them a job, training or education.” said Coun Keith Hutson, a member of Calderdale Council’s economy and environment panel and deputy chairman of the communities panel.

“During Labour’s 13 years in office, youth unemployment rose by 40 per cent.

“These young people didn’t benefit from the so-called economic boom and the Liberal Democrats are determined that they must not pay the price for past mistakes,” said Coun Hutson (Lib-Dem, Warley).

The youth programme includes: a work-experience place for every unemployed 18 to 24-year-old who wants one.

That is 410,000 new work places over the next three years, 20,000 more incentive payments to encourage employers to take on young apprentices and 250,000 new work experience placements

Half their basic wage will be paid by the Government to help encourage employers take these young people on and give them a career.

l A partnership between the council and local businesses is helping young people into employment. The scheme has been hailed as one of the best examples of how councils and businesses can work together to develop apprenticeships.

Over the past year, the council has used £100,000 from the Calderdale Economic Task Force to help fund 50 apprenticeship places across the borough.

The scheme was showcased at a national event in Manchester, before 180 delegates from local authorities and partner organisations from across the north.

The support for apprenticeships is available to small to medium-sized companies providing apprenticeships for people aged 16-24 and living locally.

Such has been the success of the first round of apprenticeships that the council is now looking at additional support of £50,000 to provide 20 employee grants at £2,000 and 10 at £1,000.