13/02/12

The Deputy Prime Minister is today calling on businesses to sign up to the government’s £1bn Youth Contract aimed at getting young unemployed people into work. Thousands of companies will receive a letter from the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and Minister for Employment Chris Grayling, calling on them to take up the initiative.

Commenting, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“At a time of high youth unemployment, any incentives to get young people into work are welcome. The Youth Contract will go a long way to giving employers the much-needed encouragement they need to hire young people. Employers often spend a large amount of time and money training up those not in education, employment or training (NEETs). The proposal to pay employers half of the minimum wage payment for the first six months will help businesses offset this cost.

“But it is important that employers can claim this payment in a reliable and the least bureaucratic way possible. This is especially important for smaller firms who need payment quickly to compensate for the initial costs of recruitment and basic training. Employers must have a clear point of contact, and any administrative burden should be kept to a minimum.

“Businesses are ready to do their bit, and the Youth Contract will provide a much-needed jobs boost for the young. But this scheme aims to help young people who are removed from the labour market, and could pose a considerable risk for employers. This is why contracts should be as flexible as possible to incentivise more firms to give these young people a chance.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

The Youth Contract is a package of support worth almost £1billion to help young unemployed people prepare for work and find a job. Employers will be offered wage incentives worth up to £2,275 each if they employ an 18 to 24 year-old from the Work Programme for at least 26 weeks. For more information, click here.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is the national voice of local business.

The BCC sits at the heart of a powerful nationwide network of Accredited Chambers of Commerce, serving over 100,000 businesses across the UK, which employ over five million people.

Media contacts:

Liz Larvin
Tel: 020 7654 5813 / 07825746812
Email: l.larvin@britishchambers.org.uk

Lisa Morrison
Tel: 020 7654 5812 / 07717682221
Email: l.morrison@britishchambers.org.uk