Lottie Dexter is Director of Million Jobs, a campaign to stand up for the young unemployed. Previously, she was Communications at the Centre for Social Justice think tank. Follow her and Million Jobs on Twitter.
The latest batch of labour market statistics, released today, show one in five young people are unemployed. The youth unemployment rate is double that of the workforce overall - and 958,000 16-24 year olds need a job.
What’s more, these statistics have remained unchanged for nearly four years. Our under 25s have been kept down and out for too long - and with devastating consequences. Youth unemployment tears our social fabric; it harms vulnerable young people, ruins families and causes communities to unravel. Having so many young people out-of-work costs the Exchequer more than £15 billion each year, and will do for years to come.
It is a no brainer – we have to do something about youth unemployment. The independent Million Jobs Campaign, which I lead, stands up for the young unemployed and puts pressure on politicians to help them out. By 2015 we want youth unemployment at the top of the electoral agenda and we want all political parties committed to sensible solutions.
Yet the seriousness of this deep-seated social problem, and the political kudos that would amass from cracking it, appear to go largely unnoticed in the Conservative Party. ‘Youth unemployment’ did not make an appearance in the Queen’s Speech, nor was it mentioned in the Budget. That’s not to say that the Coalition are doing nothing: they are reforming the welfare system with purpose and vigour, and have a raft of pro-enterprise policies that will help young people out . But this only goes so far.