Measures to boost youth unemployment need to be at the heart of the forthcoming Budget to help propel the economy and give generation-Covid a fighting chance, says the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB). This is in response to ONS Labour Market data out today showing that nearly 200,000 young people have been unemployed for six months or longer.

Indeed, the figures show that 726,000 fewer people are currently in payrolled employment than before the start of the pandemic, and that almost three-fifths of this fall, 425,000, has come from those aged under 25.

Dr Joe Marshall, Chief Executive of NCUB said: “New figures released today follow the same worrying pattern we have witnessed since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Unemployment has hit our nations young people disproportionately. These are incredibly difficult times for our 18-24 year olds and these new figures today further demonstrate the scale of the crisis we face. We need to take urgent action to help ‘generation-Covid’ now, before it’s too late.”

Marshall concluded: “The Chancellor must temporarily scrap National Insurance Contributions for young people under the age of 25. This will make the cost of hiring lower and will help UK businesses to continue to hire the nation’s young people. Without support, the younger generation will face further unemployment or lower wages, and employers will lose out on the talented workforce they need to recover. For the good of the whole economy, the Government must fundamentally evaluate our future labour needs and develop the policies we need. Greater assurance during times of significant uncertainty is required.”