Youngsters refusing to work should have their benefits taken away, Labour warns

YOUNG people who refuse to get a job or go into training should have their benefits taken away from them, Jonathan Ashworth today warns.

Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary said he will crack the whip on layabouts on the dole.

The TimesJonathan Ashworth at Labour conference[/caption]

There are growing alarm at the rise in the number of NEETs – young people not in education, employment or training – post Covid.

Mr Ashworth blasted shock stats showing just one in three NEETS are referred to the government’s ‘youth offer’.

This is a scheme forcing 16 to 24 year-olds to look for work in exchange for Universal Credit.

There were 770,000 young people at the start of the year – just 285,000 were on the scheme.

He fumed: “We won’t stand for so many young people signing on and refusing a job. It’s a waste of their talents and holds our country’s potential back. 

“Our reforms will offer real training and help but we won’t shirk from enforcing tough rules on the young unemployed who refuse to take up the offer of help.” 

He said Labour will take a carrot and stick approach.

Young people will be given more help to find a job, he said.

But those who can work but won’t work will face a tougher regime which will see them stripped of their benefits.

This will be done by strengthening the agreement young benefit claimants must sign to go out looking for a job or training.

Britain’s economic recovery post Covid is being held back by vast numbers ofBrits dropping out of the workforce.

There are over 1 million vacancies in the jobs market – a near record high.

Mr Ashworth said: “With so many job gaps that need filling we won’t stand for a situation where these numbers of young people on the dole aren’t taking up a job or in training. 

“Under Labour’s reforms we will give young people the opportunity of help but they have a responsibility to take it. 

“We are clear there will be conditions attached to signing on. That’s the deal.”

A DWP spokesman said: “This is a misleading interpretation as not all young people who aren’t in education, employment or training will claim Universal Credit, and not all are able to work, but those who do and who are searching for work have access to the DWP Youth Offer.

“As announced in the Spring Budget, we will be expanding the Youth Offer so that other young people on Universal Credit can have access to this support.”

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