SKELMERSDALE County Cllr Julie Gibson, the Labour Group Shadow cabinet member for economic regeneration has joined calls for the Government to appoint a youth minister and put in place emergency measures to tackle growing youth unemployment.
She said: “Once again, we are seeing young people bearing the brunt of the economic crisis as a result of the economic fall-out of Covid.
“The latest official figures show the percentage of young people (aged 16-24) who are unemployed has risen to 13.4 percent. In West Lancashire that figure stands at 6.3% (figs as of Oct 2020).
She continued: “A recent report by the LGA (Local Government Association), Re-thinking Youth Participation has called on the Government to produce a rapid response to this problem in order to ensure that a generation of young people do not fall through the net and become part of a pandemic generation.
“The establishment of a youth minister would be a post that would work across all Whitehall departments but one that would also bring together, local councils, businesses and trade unions to create a new youth, employment and skills (YES) task-force.”
Cllr Gibson said: “Current estimates predict without this intervention a further 600,000 young people could find themselves jobless by the end of the year (figs from LGA November 2020).
“I would urge the Government to work with local councils, schools and colleges to improve provision and mitigate the worst effects of a COVID recession, so that our young people can get a start in life. We cannot allow them to become another statistic lost to this pandemic.”