Today Nick Clegg is launching a new initiative on youth unemployment that is based on the ACEVO commission on youth unemployment , chaired by David Miliband. One of the key findings of the report was that youth unemployment can be entrenched in communities and even in times of growth and prosperity there are hot spots of heavy youth unemployment. So action needs to be targeted on those hotspots.
Nick Clegg has accepted that finding and today announces a new initiative amd list of hotspots where action wil be taken. Worth reading what Nick Clegg has said ,
" Of course, I'm always open to other ideas and proposals. No one organisation or political party has a monopoly of wisdom here. And the gravity of this problem demands us to be both restless and collaborative. David Miliband, who I understand is speaking later today, has done a lot of detailed work on this. He recently produced an excellent report with ACEVO - the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Associations.........
I was, however, very much struck by another insight from David's report: youth unemployment hot spots. Youth unemployment is a national problem but it is more acute in certain places. Maybe inner city areas with high levels of disadvantage, rural communities where businesses are struggling to take people on, former mining towns at the sharp end of industrial decline. Whatever the reason, these are the toughest parts of the country to be young, down, and out.
There are different ways of determining exactly what counts as a hotspot. We identify them as the nine Jobcentre Plus districts, covering 20 local authority areas with the highest rates of long-term youth unemployment and the lowest rates of return to work. And I can announce today that we will be targeting these areas with renewed urgency. For a simple reason: these are the young people who are hardest to reach, in the labour markets that are hardest to crack and they cannot be made to wait.
So, in these places we're bringing the wage subsidy forward. Instead of coming in at nine months, it will come in at six. At this stage, three months can make all the difference. When you feel like your banging your head against a brick wall, when you live in an area where opportunities are already few and far between, another 12 weeks of rejection letters, of being cut off, of sitting at home waiting, worrying, that can seriously knock the stuffing out of you, making it extremely difficult to pick yourself up. So job centres will be able to make use of the subsidy before people are referred to the Work Programme, capitalising on their links with local employers. And they'll also intensify support: so more training, more regular coaching, spending more time with young people to knock a CV into shape or prep ahead of an interview.
We are publishing the full list of youth unemployment hot spots today and the extra help will be on offer by the end of July. The hot spots are where you'd expect them to be: the Midlands, the North, South Wales, parts of Scotland. This is all part and parcel of our bigger agenda of rebalancing the economy; of taking on the North/South divide.
We started with the Work Programme; we introduced the Youth Contract; now we're homing in on youth unemployment hot spots. Action that is targeted; urgent; always looking to do more, Government working hardest for the people and places that have been hardest hit."
Congratulations to Clegg for taking action on this idea. And ACEVO itself is pursuing the recommendations in the Miliband report , in particular we are working with local councils in the NE and the NW on Job Summits.
And worth noting the work that our very own Ralph Michell , ACEVO's Director of Policy and Strategy did on this Commission report. The report is well written and well argued. Indeed only last week a member of the House of Lords was commenting that the report was the best thing he had read on youth unemployment.