‘No option of life on benefits for young’ – Labouron March 3, 2024 at 10:30 pm

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Liz Kendall is expected to say young people have a “responsibility” to take up jobs and training.

Liz KendallImage source, Getty Images

There will be “no option of a life on benefits” for young people under Labour, its shadow work secretary will declare in a speech on Monday.

Liz Kendall is expected to say the party will invest in careers and skills training but warn young people have a “responsibility” to take them up.

The party warned the number of people aged between 16-24 who are not in work, education or training is rising.

A Tory spokesman said Labour has an “abysmal” record on youth employment.

According to Office for National Statistics estimates, there were 851,000 young people not in employment, education or training between October to December 2023.

That number has risen by 20,000 compared to the same period in 2022 and accounts for 12% of all 16-24-year-olds.

Ms Kendall will say the Tories have “failed on the economy – and that is because they have failed on work”.

She is expected to add: “This is our commitment to young people. We value you. You are important. We will invest in you and help you build a better future with all the chances and choices this brings.

“But in return for these new opportunities, you will have a responsibility to take up the work or training that’s on offer. Under our changed Labour party, if you can work there will be no option of a life on benefits.”

The party has not detailed whether it would introduce enforcement measures to back up its stance.

Labour has previously pledged to invest in 1,000 new careers advisers, specialist mental health support in every school and so-called Young Future hubs in every area to provide a range of services to vulnerable young people.

It has previously said it would reform the apprenticeship levy – a 0.5% tax on large employers – to invest in skills training.

Labour is also expected to say on Monday that it would “overhaul access to work” for disabled young people if it wins the next election.

In response, a Conservative Party spokesman pointed towards the previous record of Labour governments on youth employment.

The Tories have also attacked Labour’s plan to reform the apprenticeship levy in order to fund its policies, saying it would lead to a reduction in the number of people getting on-the-job training.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “Under the last Labour government, youth unemployment almost doubled and the number of people seeking out-of-work benefits soared – their abysmal record speaks for itself.”

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