Childcare help for job seekers

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EXTRA help with childcare will be offered as part of efforts to reduce the toll of joblessness, Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg has pledged.

The total number of unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds has now increased to a million and, nationally, the overall unemployment figure has soared to 2.57 million according to latest figures from the Office of National Statistics.

The issue was raised when trade unionists recreating the Jarrow March of 75 years ago to demand job creation called at Sheffield on their 300-mile route from the north east to London.

More than 100 people, including students and trade unionists joined them for a demonstration in the city centre.

Mr Clegg said the Government is looking at extra help to remove barriers in the way of people wanting to work.

He said: “We know a large number of those young people out of work are not actively looking for jobs. One issue that affects all groups, including young people who are mums and dads, is the cost of childcare.

“At present, there is no help to cover the cost unless you are working for 16 hours a week.

“We are changing this so that everyone is allowed help with the cost of childcare, so young mums and dads can go out to work part-time if they wish.”

He added: “We also want to end the position where people lose money when they go out to work because their benefits and tax credits are reduced.”

Mr Clegg said he believed efforts such as increasing young people’s skills through more apprenticeships, and the creation of University Technical Colleges - including one in Sheffield - will also help tackle the problem.