In my response to the news that youth unemployment is nearing 1 million, I promised to write to the Employment Minister, Chris Grayling for answers. Below is my message to him.
Dear Mr Grayling,
I am writing to you on behalf of the young people I represent in Sheffield as a Member of the UK Youth Parliament.
In the Yorkshire Post recently, I was dismayed to read that youth unemployment in my region and nationwide is at what many including myself, consider to be unacceptably high levels. I made a pledge to my constituents to oppose any instance where I felt young people were getting an unfair deal. I have been doing this consistently over the past year. Whilst I understand unemployment figures can at times give an inaccurate view of the situation, from talking to constituents and friends, I’ve seen that there is a real struggle to find work. It seems to me that the figures in this instance are representative and reflect the dark truth that exists for Britain’s young.
It’s important to address the wider sense of austerity in this country and the destruction of the support networks that help young people into employment. We’re witnessing an abolition of the voluntary youth services which were there to better equip young people for entering the world of work. Furthermore, as a result of these drastic cuts we’re seeing a disillusionment in politics reach shocking levels. The issue isn’t just about young people lacking the necessary skills to enter the work place, but that they will also become an economic liability and act as a further drain on the nation’s welfare. This is counter to the message I thought was in the Coalition Agreement, that Britain would see increased social investment in people and move towards prosperity and growth. My fear is that the unemployment will not be a short term blip that is for some greater good, but is really only the start of a long term trend of young people kept out of work.
I ask you as Employment Minister what plans you have to ensure young people who are qualified and willing to work are able to achieve employment. Can you prove, as you claim, that youth employment is a priority for your Department? It appears at the moment, that there simply isn’t enough supply to meet the demands of young people wanting work. Are you creating incentive in the private sector to employ and train young people?
Is the objective to reduce the deficit, a justification for high unemployment and is it acceptable for services to reduce their output to the point where they are no longer providing what they should be? The answer in most people’s eyes is no.
I look forward to your response and the answers you can give me.
MYP for Sheffield