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Ex-labor PM appeals to prevent rise in youth unemployment

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Former Labor leader proposes preventive measures to tackle a looming crisis in youth unemployment.

Ex-labor prime minister Gordon Brown urged the national government to prevent the surge in youth unemployment, which he said could exceed levels during the 1980 financial crisis.

Brown also stressed that, according to research conducted by Professor Paul Gregg, those who are under 25 have felt the impact of the pandemic the most. And that job losses were mostly concentrated among the youth.

U.K. youth unemployment on the rise

In a report first published by The Guardian, the former labor leader said an estimated 1.5 million young people across the country are in need of help to return to work until the next year.

Brown, who is also the prime minister during the late 2000s recession, also called out the U.K. government’s “£2 billion kickstart scheme,” saying it is not sufficient to prevent further job loss.

In a statement quoted by The Guardian, Brown said:

“This report charts the arithmetic of deprivation and desolation as youth unemployment gets out of control and this will alarm every parent in every region and nation of Britain. Today we are dealing with a far bigger challenge than in the 1980s and it needs a UK-wide jobs summit bringing together the regions and nations with the prime minister.”

He then added that failure to prevent the looming crisis in youth unemployment “will fail a generation of young people as surely as we did for too long in the 19080s.”

Recently, data released by PwC and the Local Data Company showed that UK shop closures in the first half of 2020 have reached a record-breaking figure. A total of 11, 120 stores closed between January and June.

Wage subsidy and other measures

Rishi Sunak previously unveiled a £2 billion plan to support 350, 000 six-month work placements for those who are under 25, recognizing that younger folks “bear the brunt of most economic crises.”

But the ex-labor prime minister argued that the program would not provide quality work experience. He also pointed out that the scheme is only limited to those who are on universal credit and those who are out of work for six months.

He then proposed the following measures as part of the scheme to prevent a rise in youth unemployment:

• £100 wage subsidy for employers per week in six months
• Provide quality work experience
• Provide help with job searches

Furthermore, Brown also suggested training particularly for new jobs like logistics, IT, contact tracers, teaching assistants, and lab technicians.

Images courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio, Canva Studio/Pexels

Kari Astillero

Kari Astillero is a freelance digital content writer by profession and a poet by heart. She works at home trying to guard her solitude from the city's noise.

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Kari Astillero

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