New Work Programme statistics released today reveal referrals to the Government’s flagship back to work scheme have collapsed, yet the number out of work for over a year continues to rise.

In reaction to recent research showing the gulf between rich and poor areas, Liam Byrne said,


“David Cameron is creating a divided nation with cuts to Tax Credits for hard working families and a million young people out of work whilst at the same time he is delivering a tax cut for millionaires.


Liam Byrne MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, responding to comments from Damian Collins MP reported in the Metro story today, ‘Young people should busk if they can't afford train fare, says Tory MP', said:

“This tells you everything you need to know about the Tories’ attitude to getting our young people back to work. They are out of touch, out of ideas and frankly out of order.

“The government can selectively quote whatever it likes about the Work Programme but it can’t disguise the blunt truth that long term unemployment has gone through the roof. These are the people the Work Programme was designed to help and the queue keeps getting longer.
“I’m afraid that it is a cut and dried case that the Work Programme is sinking under the weight of unacceptably high unemployment.”

“Much too little and much too late. This is a sticking plaster solution for what is now a national crisis.

“Youth unemployment has now been over 1 million since last August. Nick Clegg needs to bite the bullet and join Labour's demand for a bank bonus tax to finance a Real Jobs Guarantee for over 100,000 young people.

We've had two years of excuses and now we've got the evidence – this Government has utterly failed to tackle Britain’s jobs emergency, and we are limping along in crisis.

The number of people signing on is going up, we still have more than a million young people out of work, more women unemployed than since 1987 and a benefits bill that is spiralling by the day

We need far more determination from this government to get our young people into work. The cost of youth unemployment for the city over the next 10 is an incredible £625 million.

That's why we're taking action locally. Recently I met the city's Work Programme providers to ask what more they can do. Last week, I met the Prince's Trust, Ashram Housing, and Business In The Community to plan a new push to connect our young people with opportunities they need to make a start in life.

I still remember my first days on the shop floors at Tesco. I was only 16, and a shift on a Thursday night and a long haul on Saturday made the all difference to a teenage budget. But it taught me something more. The discipline of work. Before I got to university, I'd worked anywhere and everywhere. Behind a till at McDonalds, unloading fishing boats, sweeping floors, building gardens, selling photocopiers - even picking grapes.