The UK faces an unprecedented youth unemployment crisis. One million young people are unemployed, 250,000 of whom have been out of work for over a year. While the UK’s youth employment challenge has been exacerbated by the recession, it is not the sole cause according to the Work Foundation.
Youth unemployment has been rising since the early 2000s- even while the economy was growing. Unless addressed the long-term problem will persist even once the economy starts to grow again. Urgent action is needed to stop a new ‘lost generation’.
Policy should offer both a short-term and long-term response. Action is needed now to address the immediate situation for those who have already been out of work for 12 months or more. In the longer term policy must ensure that young people are given the skills, opportunities and information they need to enter the labour market.
While the Youth Contract is a positive first step, government policy remains inadequate to the scale of the challenge. The government must do more- it should focus on improving coordination at both national and local levels, should guarantee real part-time jobs for all long-term jobseekers, bring more people into the support system, address transport barriers, and recognise the role that good quality careers education and guidance can play in smoothing young people’s transition from school to work. This response must go alongside measures to promote aggregate demand and growth in the labour market.
The Work Foundation fringe
How can we tackle the youth unemployment crisis?
13:00 – 14:00 Napoleon Room, The Grand Hotel.
Five years since the collapse of Northern Rock and the start of the credit crunch, the austerity policy has lost sight of what exactly drives growth – innovation. With the UK in a double-dip recession and the Government’s budget deficit increasing, the Big Innovation Centre’s fringe event will ask - are we going far and fast enough to create a 21st-centruy framework for recovery, growth and prosperity?
The UK has some of the world’s leading science institutions and universities and we are seeing collaborations, licences and company spin-offs from academic work improving. But ideas, credit and resources are not flowing with the speed, scale and energy required to achieve a long-term UK recovery:
· UK markets are not unleashing innovation and jobs in health or driving a green agenda on sustainability.
· Our banks do not finance innovative sectors or grow entrepreneurship in small and medium sized enterprises.
· The intellectual property system is increasingly the cornerstone of the contemporary knowledge based economy – but continuous court rulings overzealous protection of intellectual property rights threatens to throttle it.
· There is no protocol to unlock the value of Big data in the digital economy
· Our firms are lagging absorptive capacity for academic knowledge.
Is the implementation of the UK growth strategy launched a year ago enough ambitious, bold, and enterprising? Does government need to be smarter and more agile than the traditional state intervention models?
The alarming performance of our economy is clear, but although the evidence base for policies is being produced, is it really entering the heart of the MPs who are taking the decisions?
Big Innovation Centre fringe
It’s Innovation, stupid: Is the strategy for growth working?
Monday 24 September, 18:15 – 19:30 Victoria terrace, The Grand Hotel.