Youth unemployment in West Lothian has doubled

A report in the Linlithgow Gazette shows that the number of young people enduring unemployment in West Lothian has doubled during the pandemic. 

The number of young people claiming unemployment benefits went up from 650 to 1265 between January and December 2020. That's higher than the national average. 

You have to wonder how many of their jobs could have been saved if the Chancellor had done what the Lib Dems first called for last Summer and extended the furlough scheme until June of this year. 

Treasury spokesperson Christine Jardine made this point today:

"These figures illustrate that COVID has created a generation who are being left behind and whose economic life chances and mental health have been permanently scarred. This generation is our future and the government must provide ongoing support.

"Government's refusal to listen to calls to extend furlough before now has already cost thousands of jobs and pushed shops, hairdressers and companies up and down the country out of business.

“Worse still is their refusal to bring the millions of excluded self-employed and small business owners under the umbrella of Government support.

"It's time the Chancellor recognised that business needs certainty, long term planning and a clear vision of how we are going to repair and rebuild our ailing economy." 

The Resolution Foundation's recently published Intergenerational Audit highlights the consequences of this rise in young people's unemployment. Young people were more likely to fall behind with housing costs, a consequence of the Conservative Government cutting their entitlement to housing allowances. 

The Foundation predicts dire effects on young people's life chances from the pandemic; long periods of unemployment, lower pay throughout their careers, both limiting their aspirations to buy houses in the future. 

All levels of government need to provide a way out of this for our young people. We can't leave them unsupported like previous governments did in the 80s. We need high quality training and support programmes to help them get good jobs. The Young Person's Guarantee must have the investment it needs to make sure that every young person has the support that they need to 

The pandemic has exposed all sorts of inequalities in our country and its impact has been disproportionately bad for young workers. We have the opportunity now to build a much fairer society where nobody is left behind. We can't let this generation down. 


Caron Lindsay

By Election Candidate - Livingston South

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