Surge in youth unemployment in Chesterfield blamed on lockdown

Hundreds more young people in Chesterfield are claiming universal credit than before the coronavirus pandemic, new figures reveal.
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The Intergenerational Foundation charity says younger people will be left to pay the bill for protecting older generations for decades to come after suffering a ‘massive blow’ to their income and job prospects.

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) statistics show 1,748 people aged 16-24 in Chesterfield were on universal credit as of August 13.

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This was 667 more than the 1,081 who were claiming the benefit in early March, before the country went into lockdown, bringing large parts of the economy to a halt.

Youth unemployment has risen in ChesterfieldYouth unemployment has risen in Chesterfield
Youth unemployment has risen in Chesterfield

The figures include people in work and on a low income or those not working because of health or caring commitments, alongside those who are unemployed and searching for a job.

Chesterfield’s young people joined the ranks of 66,731 others in the age group across the East Midlands who were seeking support in August, up from 35,104 in March.

Separate Office for National Statistics figures show rising unemployment has hit young people the hardest, with the number of 16 to 24-year-olds in employment across the UK dropping by more than 150,000 in the three months to July.

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Ashley Seager, co-founder of the Intergenerational Foundation, said: “These statistics demonstrate the intergenerational unfairness in the Government's approach to Covid.

“Our youngest workers are now starting to suffer a massive blow to their incomes and job prospects.”

“The Government urgently needs to boost funding for the £2 billion Kickstart scheme, which subsidises work placements for young people facing long-term unemployment, while encouraging older people to shield and re-opening the economy as quickly as possible.

“After all, it is the younger generation who will have to pay the bill for protecting older generations for decades to come."

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Mim Davies MP, minister for employment, said: “We recognise that the pandemic has been difficult for many people and that’s why our £30 billion plan for jobs is aimed at protecting, supporting and creating jobs and it’s welcome news that there is some recovery in vacancies.”