Fears that employers may be using the Government’s Youth Contract payments to employ temporary workers have been voiced by a Dearne MP.
MP John Healey has called on the Work and Pensions Secretary to reveal figures about the number of local young people who have been able to take up jobs as a result of the Government’s Youth Contract.
His call for information comes after reports that companies could be repeatedly pocketing the £2,275 government “wage incentive”, each time they take on a young unemployed person for at least six months.
There is nothing to stop employers getting rid of workers and hiring new ones after collecting the payment that could leave young people ‘on the scrapheap’.
In Rotherham and Barnsley nearly 5,000 18-24 year-olds are stuck on unemployment benefits and 2,105 have been claiming for more than six months.
In a letter to Iain Duncan Smith, Mr Healey said: “These numbers represent real young people; youngsters with skills, talents and aspirations who risk being left on the scrapheap.
“I am determined to do all I can to prevent your government creating a lost generation in Rotherham and Barnsley.”
Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Labour discovered that the government is not recording how many jobs created through the Youth Contract are temporary.
The Youth Contract has already been criticised for helping just 21,500 young people to start new jobs and just 5,000 into work for more than six months.
The scheme is on course to miss its target by 92 per cent. Meanwhile, almost a million young people are seeking work, including 100,000 in Yorkshire and the Humber.
Mr Healey criticised the government for refusing to release local or regional breakdowns of the number of jobs created by the Youth Contract.
He has asked for data on the number of people in Rotherham and Barnsley benefiting from the youth contract and those in temporary jobs.
The MP is looking for local young people, parents, colleges and employers to inform him of any experiences they have had with the Youth Contract and what they suggest the government should do to bring down youth unemployment in the area.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or 79 High Street, Wath-upon-Dearne, S63 7QB.