Fears for ‘lost’ jobless youths

damning: Mark Hendrick MP
damning: Mark Hendrick MP
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Long-term youth unemployment in Preston has risen by 346% in 12 months.

Latest figures show there are 3,318 people aged between 16 and 24 claiming job seekers’ allowance in the city.

Out of 650 parliamentary constituencies, Preston is ranked 9th for the highest rise in long-term youth unemployment.

Preston MP Mark Hendrick said: “The statistics are a damning reflection on the economic policy of this coalition Government.

“The tragedy is that it is young people paying for the mistakes of David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

“My fear is that they are creating a lost generation of young people.”

Spencer Doherty, 20, knows all too well about the challenges facing young people.

The electrician from Walton-le-Dale, near Preston, was made redundant three times in less than three years.

Mr Doherty, who has now set up his own business, said: “I got really fed up, I sent out at least 150 CVs and didn’t get many replies, it was getting really demoralising.

“There was nothing out there.

“I just thought, I’m young, I still live at home with my mum and dad, why not try and start up on my own?

“It is going steady so far and I’m building up a decent customer base.”

And whilst Mr Doherty admits its “too early” to say if he’s done the right thing, he said: “I’m enjoying it and I’m enjoying not relying on anybody else.”

At number 20 in the list is Chorley, where long-term youth unemployment has risen by 300% in the past 12 months, with 1,834 young people claiming job seekers’ allowance.

South Ribble is placed at 126th, with 1,339 young people unemployed, a 186% rise in the past 12 months.