Localised approaches to tackling youth unemployment

19th October 2012.

The latest set of unemployment data suggests that over 1 million young people aged between 16-24 are currently unemployed.  In an economy restricted by recession and sluggish business growth, this is a significant challenge.  It is a challenge for young people in terms of their confidence, skills and employment future; and it is a challenge for local economies in terms of output, productivity, and ability to attract investment.  The current Government’s approach to tackling youth unemployment has been one of demand side intervention, focusing particularly upon the payment by results framed Youth Contract.  In this CLES Briefing, we explore the emerging policy context around youth unemployment and offer our thoughts upon a more localised approach to tackling the issue.

The Coalition Government has set out its stall to tackle the UK’s economic deficit through a mixture of cuts to public finances, and incentives for growth and job creation.  The bulk of government policy has had these dual themes at their heart.  The welfare reform agenda seeks to reduce the costs associated with welfare and move people from welfare into work.  The cities agenda, as highlighted in the City Deals, seeks to enable growth, competitiveness and job creation through decentralising powers to city governments; and the economic incentivisation agenda, as provided through Local Enterprise Partnerships, Enterprise Zones, and the Regional Growth Fund, seeks to pave the way for growth through tax breaks and other incentives for the private sector.