Unemployed youngsters to be put through work 'boot camp' or face losing benefits

Matthew Hancock said he wanted to end the 'welfare culture' in some communities. Credit: PA

Unemployed youngsters could lose their benefits unless they take part in a work "boot camp", the Government has announced.

Paymaster general Matthew Hancock said he wanted to end the "welfare culture" in some communities and would take a "no excuses" approach to the scheme.

The 71-hour programme would target people aged 18 to 21 in a bid to prepare them for the world of work.

Within the first three weeks of claiming unemployment benefits, young claimants will be given help with job applications and interview techniques, as well as an "extensive" search for vacancies.

A dedicated "work coach" will work with jobseekers and review what was achieved during the initial three-week course, the Cabinet Office said.

Mr Hancock, who chairs the cross-Government "Earn or Learn" implementation taskforce, said he wanted to make sure "life on benefits is simply not an option" and ensure welfare dependency is not passed down generations.

"We are determined to fulfil our commitments to end the welfare culture that is embedded in some of Britain's most vulnerable communities," he said.

"We are absolutely committed to ending long-term youth unemployment and building a country for workers, where nobody is defined by birth and everyone can achieve their potential."

The taskforce, which includes Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, will implement measures including the requirement for young claimants to take a job, apprenticeship, traineeship or unpaid work experience or face losing benefits.

The Government said it will also oversee the creation of three million more apprentices by 2020 and previously announced changes to the welfare system including an end to the automatic entitlement to housing benefit for under-21s.