Axing an employment fund risks creating a “lost generation” of young people without work, Labour leader Ed Miliband is to warn.
Prime Minister David Cameron is hosting business leaders at Downing Street to highlight what Number 10 says are pledges to create thousands of new jobs between them.
But Mr Miliband will use a press conference to accuse him of undermining many jobless youngsters’ chances of finding work by ending the £1 billion Future Jobs Fund initiative a year early.
An influential Commons committee warned last month that the decision would result in unemployed young people facing a potential gap in the support available to find employment.
The work and pensions select committee said it was concerned that referrals to the fund will end next spring, leaving a gap until June when the new Work Programme will be launched.
“The first thing Mr Cameron should be addressing at his meeting today is the risk of a lost generation of young people in this country,” Mr Miliband is expected to say.
“There will be a looming gap in the help given to unemployed young people. He should follow Labour’s advice and keep the Future Jobs Fund which would mean 100,000 extra jobs for young people. This decision to betray young people is not just unfair – it is the wrong long-term economic judgment for our country.”
The Labour leader is due to address reporters in Westminster shortly before representatives of around 20 well-known UK firms arrive at Number 10 to discuss job creation.
Among them is supermarket chain Morrisons, which announced it would create 5,700 new jobs by opening new stores and 300 in manufacturing. Supermarkets featured heavily on the list of attendees, with Tesco predicting 9,000 extra jobs across the UK in 2011, Sainsburys 6,500, the Co-Op 1,000 and Asda 15,000 retail apprenticeships.
Others included John Lewis and Microsoft (4,000 each), Centrica (2,600), InterContinental Hotels (around 1,000) and Kingfisher (several hundred).