The crisis of Sunderland’s young unemployed

General Secretary of the TUC Brendan Barber.

General Secretary of the TUC Brendan Barber.

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YOUTH unemployment in Sunderland has seen a 24 per cent increase in the last year, union leaders said today.

The North East is bearing the brunt of Britain’s youth unemployment, according to the latest figures.

The Northern TUC revealed today that every North East local authority area has seen youth unemployment increase in the last 12 months, with the average council seeing an increase of more than 20 per cent.

Gateshead was worst hit with a 26 per cent increase, followed by Sunderland with 24 per cent and Newcastle with 16 per cent.

Almost 5,000 more young people in the North East are now claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance compared to 12 months ago

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber (pictured) said: “We’re facing the biggest youth unemployment crisis in a generation with close to one million of our young people unable to find work.

“With the economic outlook the gloomiest it’s been since the end of the recession, the bleak prospects facing young jobseekers look set to be with us for some considerable time to come, unless the Government changes course now and brings in immediate measures to support jobs and growth.

“Young people need particular help to make sure they don’t spend long periods out of employment or education. We need a proper replacement for the Future Jobs Fund, new measures to support the creation of more apprenticeships and a Government commitment that no unemployed young person will spend more than six months out of employment or high-quality training.”

Northern TUC Regional Secretary Kevin Rowan added: “The Conservative-led Government is throttling the hopes of young people in the North East.

“Ministers have chosen to abolish the Future Jobs Fund, ended the Educational Maintenance Allowance, trebled university fees and undermined the sectors and industries that employ the most young people. It is no surprise that the least wealthy areas have suffered the most.

“It is little consolation that leafier areas of the south have stemmed the tide in rising unemployment. The damage done now could be felt for years.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “We are determined to ensure all young people have the chance of work which is why we are cutting the deficit to bring stability back to the economy, and promoting economic growth to create jobs for the long term.

“Our Work Programme offers tailored support to ensure young people get the help that’s right for them to start the journey into work, while our work experience scheme is giving thousands of young people the chance to show an employer what they can do and get their feet on the ladder.”

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