Business urged to help tackle youth unemployment

Thousands of businesses across the country will be receiving letters from Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, asking them to sign up to the Youth Contract scheme, the latest government attempt to combat youth unemployment.

According to the most recent statistics, the number of unemployed aged between 16 and 24 had hit 1.04 million by the end of last year, up 9.8% on 2010.

First launched in November last year, the long-term aim of Youth Contract is to lift all young people out of unemployment. The government hasset aside £1bn for the scheme, which will help businesses cover the costs of taking on new employees by offering a wage subsidy.

Designed to cover costs such as National Insurance contributions, the subsidy will consist of a payment of £2,275 for every 18-24-year-old unemployed person organisations employ from the government Work Programme and the scheme is open to all businesses, voluntary organisations and charities.

"This is a long-term boost to help business get young people into jobs before long-term damage is done," said Clegg. "I'm calling out to employers to look at what we are offering through Youth Contract and to sign up to offer jobs. This is a significant moment and a call to arms for businesses to offer long-term opportunities to young people who are out of work."

The Youth Contract comes into force on 2 April. For more information and to register your interest click here, www.dwp.gov.uk/youth-contract

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