- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
The number of 18-24-year-olds claiming Jobseekers Allowance for more than six month in Mid and West Wales went up 70 per cent between January and October, latest figures show.
Meanwhile, youth unemployment data for the year to the end of March show that 22.4% of 16-24-year-olds in Wales are currently out of work.
UK-wide, more than one million 16 to 24-year-olds are now unemployed. Altogether, including students, 1.02 million young people who are looking for work in the UK are jobless.
Mid and West Wales Labour Assembly Members Joyce Watson and Rebecca Evans commented on the latest figures.
Joyce Watson said “the ladder of opportunity is being taken away from young people”.
She said: “Young people have been at the sharp end of the Tory-Lib Dem cuts and tuition fees hike, and these figures show they are bearing the brunt of the their economic failure too.
“The UK government is failing to stimulate growth while making deep cuts and the human cost of this policy is becoming ever more apparent. I fear the long-term impact will be felt among our youth. The Westminster government must follow Wales’ lead by prioritising investment that supports jobs and stimulates growth.”
Rebecca Evans said young people are being “punished for a crisis they didn’t cause”.
She said: “The figures released are hugely disappointing. The Welsh Labour Government is doing all it can to support young people into work, establishing Jobs Growth Wales and increasing apprenticeship opportunities for young people. But the fact is there is only so much they can do when they are facing a wave of Tory and Lib Dem cuts from Westminster – punishing young people for a crisis they didn’t cause by putting them out of work and onto the dole queue.”
The £75m Jobs Growth Wales scheme will create around 4,000 jobs a year for three years for young jobseekers in Wales.
The Welsh Government has also announced £55m to support businesses and create up to 5,000 new jobs. The grants will not be repayable or restricted to any specific sectors and businesses can apply between 12 December and 31 January.
Overall unemployment in Wales is at its highest level since comparable records began in 1992, figures published by the Office for National Statistics show.
In July to September, it stood at 137,000, a rise of 14,000 on the quarter and 20,000 for the same three-month period last year. The unemployment rate now stands at 9.3% up from 8.1% in July to September 2010.