School-leavers face being denied benefits under Coalition plans for a new “earn or learn” programme, it has emerged. All young people aged 18-to-21 will be expected to ensure they are in work, university, an apprenticeship or a training course to prepare them for employment, it was claimed. This is from the Telegraph…
The proposals – discussed by leading members of the Government – would be intended to tackle the large numbers of school-leavers out of a job or further education, as well as making cuts to the welfare bill.
It comes just a month after the Conservatives revived the prospect of removing housing benefits from people aged under-25 as part of a package of welfare cuts worth £10bn.
But the move is likely to prove controversial amid fears that it risks harming teenagers who have already been badly hit by a decline in jobs during the economic downturn.
According to reports, the “earn or learn” scheme was discussed at a recent meeting of the Coalition’s Quad – the decision-making body featuring David Cameron, George Osborne, Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander.
Under the plan, it is believed that all young people will be encouraged to take up employment or further education.
Another option would involve the creation of new-style “traineeships” set up to prepare school-leavers for jobs in relatively low-skilled industries.
Young people refusing to take up one of these places could see their benefits significantly cut, the Mail on Sunday reported.
The Cabinet Office was unable to comment on the proposals.