- 11 updates
Labour's shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne has accused the government of "making it up as they go along" as they announced "changes" to the controversial work experience scheme for young job seekers. He said:
"Ministers appear to be lurching from one muddle to another while more and more jobs are lost and unemployment rises. Work experience is incredibly valuable but somehow this Government have botched it so badly that they have lost the good will of businesses across the country."
The General Secretary of the Trade Unions Congress has welcomed the government's climbdown on the use of sanctions in work experience and called for greater investment for your people in skills and training to enable them to get into work. He said:
"While voluntary work experience has a role, it is no substitute for real action on youth unemployment, and it is still far from clear whether the Government's scheme is helping young people to get paid work."
"The Government must take real action now - with more than a fifth of young people out of work we need to invest in supporting them to get into work."
The CBI met with the government today to reaffirm their support for the controversial work experience scheme for Job Seekers Allowance claimants. They are encouraging their members to take part. Katja Hall, CBI Chief Policy Director said:
"Gaining hands on experience of the workplace is vital to giving young jobseekers a foot in the door, and it can make such a difference when they are applying for interviews.The scheme’s record of getting people into jobs is very strong, with more than half coming off benefits after 13 weeks"
The government has announced that youngsters will be able to leave the work experience scheme after a week without facing benefit sanctions after a meeting with scores of employees.
The Department for Work and Pensions said sanctions will still apply for cases of gross misconduct, such as stealing or racist abuse but those taking part in the scheme will be able to leave after a week without losing their benefits.
Employment minister Chris Grayling described it as a "change" that would help companies, insisting that opponents were "completely misguided".
Youngsters on the Government's work experience scheme will be able to leave after a week without facing benefit sanctions, ministers said.
David Cameron said the "whole country wants to see young people given the opportunity of work experience" and said that 200 businesses want to get involved in the scheme.
Nick Clegg has defended the government's work experience scheme saying that he cannot understand why critics "want to prevent" young people from finding employment.
He said: "They are criticising a programme that is deliberately trying to help young people into work. I cannot for the life of me understand the kind of messed-up sense of priorities of people who want to prevent young people from finding opportunities to get into permanent work.
"The system we inherited from the previous government was such that if you were a young person receiving jobseeker's allowance you weren't allowed to take up work experience."
Office for National Statistics (ONS) have released figures that show between 1992 to 2004, young people not in full-time education had employment rate similar to those aged 25 to 64, but by December 2011 it was nearly 9% higher.
ONS also suggested that young people are mainly working in sales/customer service jobs or elementary occupations such as bar staff or waiters.
Latest ITV News reports
Youngsters on the Government's work experience scheme will be able to leave after a week without facing sanctions under new changes.