MP calls for bankers' bonuses to provide Apprenticeships for jobless youngsters

A Labour MP is urging the government to provide apprenticeships for jobless youngsters with small businesses – by using bankers’ bonuses.

Introducing a bill under the ten minute rule,  the MP for Selly Oak, Steve McCabe, wants training and employment schemes for young people, better careers guidance and help for companies offering on-the-job experience.

He wants:” A mechanism through which banks and other providers of financial services are required to allocate part of their bonus payment budget to support these measures,” he said.

The MP told the House of Commons: “How can we be optimistic about the future if we are prepared to subject our young people to a life of worklessness?”

With youth unemployment hovering around the 1 million mark, his bill would bring a “fresh initiative” to tackle the problem.

“I want us to create a training and employment programme for those aged 16 to 25, because I believe that that is the only realistic way to tackle a problem of that size. That kind of unemployment can have long-term damaging effects.”

The MP added: “We owe it to our young people to do everything we can to prevent the scar of unemployment.”

Youth unemployment costs more than £23 million in benefits every week. What was needed, he said, was an employment programme “that offers hope and opportunity, and we need training designed to address the structural gaps in our system.”

Read the debate by clicking here

Mr McCabe told his fellow MPs the public were ahead of them on this matter. “Because they know that we should fund such a programme from a levy on the money set aside for unearned bonuses for wealthy bankers, who are continuing to pay themselves money that they have not earned while the rest of the country suffers as a result.”

Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, John McDonnell opposed the plan because it failed to address unsafe working conditions for apprentices.

But MPs voted 241 to 35 to allow Mr McCabe to bring in his Bill. It will be read a second time on November 25.