Teresa has challenged the Government’s short-term decision to scrap the Future Jobs Fund, pointing out that not enough time has passed to fully assess the scheme’s success in helping unemployed people into work.
During an oral evidence session of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, Employment Minister Chris Grayling admitted that the Future Jobs Fund could be more of a success than we know at the moment, as employment figures are only available for the month after the first six-month long placement.
The Labour Government’s Future Jobs Fund created over 100,000 jobs; giving young people aged 18-24 who had been out of work for six months a proper job with a proper wage as a first step on the employment ladder. Nearly 8,000 of those jobs were created in the Greater London area, with Greenwich Council and various local businesses taking part.
Lots of young people I meet who come out of college have been unemployed and have completed course after course, but employers say ‘you’ve never actually had a job’. That is a big barrier to getting into good stable employment.
But after six months on the Future Jobs Fund young people have had a job and can demonstrate to employers that they have done valuable work for a proper wage. They may go back to claiming unemployment benefit in the seventh month after their placement ends, but they may get a job under their own steam in the eighth, ninth or tenth month.
The Government’s short-term thinking on jobs means these placements will stop in March next year, before we’ve had the opportunity to see whether the Future Jobs Fund has been successful in helping local people into work.
The latest unemployment figures for Erith and Thamesmead show a slight drop in the number of people claiming unemployment benefits. I’m worried that Government is putting this tentative recovery under threat by scrapping job creation schemes like the Future Jobs Fund when we are still feeling the effects of the recession.
A video of the oral evidence session can be viewed here. Teresa questions the Minister at the 28:30 mark.