Tagged: North East towns

Middlesbrough and Stockton have “highest youth unemployment in country”

Two North-East towns have the highest youth unemployment in the country, a report claims.

Middlesbrough and Stockton were ranked top of a youth unemployment table prepared by The Work Foundation.

The Lancaster University-based organisation’s report, The Geography Of Youth Unemployment – A Route Map For Change, claims that unemployment rates for 16 to 24-year-olds in the two towns is more than 25 per cent.

In contrast, York was found to have the second lowest youth unemployment in the country at less than 13 per cent.

The study recommends that town and cities reduce their rates by ensuring that local services work together more effectively.

The paper argues that without effective, targeted action from national and local government, businesses, and educators, a generation of young people in these cities will face a bleak future in the labour market.

Commenting on the paper, Lizzie Crowley, head of youth unemployment programmes at The Work Foundation, said: “Urgent action is needed to ensure young people get the right support to either continue in school, further training or with getting a job.”

Commenting on the report, Stockton Council leader Councillor Bob Cook said it was a “nonsense that the youth unemployment rate in Stockton was the highest in the country”.

 He added: “It is actually the second lowest in the Tees Valley and is also below the regional average.

“That said, we know that the current economic climate has made it tough for young people to get a foothold on the career ladder.

“We are determined to help which is why our children and young people select committee is in the final stages of an in depth scrutiny review looking at how education and business can work together to make sure that learning provision matches local industry need.”

Source – Northern Echo  08 April 2014

Living Wage campaigners call for better pay in the North East

Living wage campaigners have hit out after it emerged a third of people in some North East towns are not earning to enough to get by.

Unions, politicians and even the new Bishop of Durham have called for more firms to take up the Living Wage, currently set at £8.80 in London and £7.65 across the rest of the UK.

Just 20 North East firms pay the higher than minimum wage to their lowest paid staff, a move the unions say has to change.

Latest figures show more than one in five people receiving less than the living wage, with some parts of the region faring much worse.

Darlington tops the region’s blackspots with 37.6% of people paid less than the living wage, with Blaydon at 34.2% and Berwick 31.7%.

Northern TUC boss Beth Farhat said the unions were looking to see more support for their pay battle: “Extending the living wage is a vital way of tackling the growing problem of in-work poverty across Britain.

“Working families are experiencing the biggest pressure on their living standards since Victorian times. Pay has been squeezed at all levels below the boardroom and it’s costing our economy dear.

“The number of living wage employers is growing rapidly and unions are playing their part in encouraging more employers to sign up and pay it – but Government must show equal initiative.

“We need to see a far greater commitment to pay the living wage from Government and employers, and modern wages councils which could set higher minimum rates in industries where employers can afford to pay their staff more. During Fair Pay Fortnight we’re asking workers to back our call to MPs to get all political parties to put decent pay at the top of their agendas in the run up to the election.”

The TUC campaign is today backed by Paul Butler, the Bishop of Durham, who said: “The Living Wage is good for everyone: good for the employee and their family – they have enough to live on; good for the employer in recruitment, retention and morale of their staff; good for us all.

“The Living Wage makes sense for everyone. It makes sense economically, socially, morally and spiritually. It helps us all build better lives and a better society.”

Union research suggested that for working women the picture is even bleaker.

The campaign has been backed by Hexham’s Conservative MP Guy Opperman, who has said he supports the need for firms to voluntarily take on the wage increase.

He said: “I have long been a supporter of the Living Wage. The campaign has really taken off in London and the South East, but what I hope to do today is to bring the campaign right here to the North East.

“I understand the concerns that business has, but I really want to explain the benefits it can bring. As many people will be aware, I am a huge advocate of the regional banking system we see in Germany. There are lots of things we can learn from our Germanic neighbours, especially around productivity.

> Is this guy (sic) really a Tory ? He won’t get far with opinions like those.

“Paying the Living Wage can have a hugely positive impact on things like productivity, quality of work, reduced absenteeism and retention of talented staff.

“In a recent independent study 84% of businesses believed paying the living wage led to increased productivity.”

Source – Newcastle Journal  01 April 2014