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Portsmouth MP: “Tories systematically failing the health and prospects of young people in Portsmouth”

By 12 March 2024No Comments

Stephen Morgan MP has accused the Government of systematically failing the health and prospects of Britain’s youth, as new analysis shows an average of 6,000 more young people a month being not in employment, education or training (NEET).

The number of young people who are out of work for ill health has hit 29,700 in the South East. Sickness-related economic inactivity among young people has risen by a third since the pandemic – and is up in every region of Britain except one. In the South East this is up from 10,700 in 2020, an increase of 178%.

Figures for the latest quarter show that across the country, there are now 851,000 young people who are NEET, up 12% from the 761,000 seen in July-September 2022.

In total, 225,000 16-24 year olds are now economically inactive due to long-term sickness, with the numbers nearly trebling in the South East of England since the pandemic.

The statistics come as Labour announced new measures to reduce the number of young people not in Employment, Education or Training.

Commenting, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“A generation of young people in Portsmouth and across the country are scandalously being left behind by this failing Tory government.

“The number of young people trapped out of work, education or training is at its highest level in years – at huge cost to a generation who are aspirational for their futures, to businesses who need their talents, and to taxpayers facing a spiralling benefits bill.

“Labour has the plan to help keep young people on the right track. We will break down barriers to work through our transformed youth employment offer, by ending the crisis in mental healthcare, transforming skills and training, and supporting them into good jobs and apprenticeships across every part of the country.”

Labour has set out a plan to break down the barriers that have resulted in almost 1 in 8 young people out of work, education or training – the highest level since 2016. This will include:

  • Providing high quality careers advice and proper work experience in every school, training 1000 new careers advisors. This will be paid for by ending tax breaks for private schools.
  • Tackling one of the root causes of young people being out of the work place – poor mental health. Every young person will have access to specialist mental health professional at school, intervening early. This will be paid for by ending tax breaks for private schools.
  • Delivering a transformed youth employment offer for young people out of work. With employment advisors in every one of Labour’s young futures hubs, alongside sign posting to employability programmes and our open access mental health support available within the hub. For young people who claim unemployment benefit, engaging with support won’t be optional.
  • Providing better opportunities for skills and training by turning the Tories’ failed apprenticeships levy into a ‘Growth and Skills Levy’ and establishing Skills England, a new national body tasked with driving forward a national ambition to meet the skills needs of the next decade.
  • Fixing Access to Work for young disabled people, delivering indicative awards so that young people who have a disability or health condition can get practical support at work.