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

Steve McCabe, MP for Selly Oak

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.

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  1. Good idea! Strange that it did not come from a conservative MP! Although this suggestion is only a “tiny drop in the ocean” – financial world needs much more restructuring to make it really work for this country. Bankers are clever in exploiting government back up to deepen their pockets even in the greatest recession times. They know that the government cannot afford financial system to fail but they are also happy to share the bonuses even from the government bailout monies.

  2. Youth unemployment is very real societal concern and should never be underestimated in terms of the legacy it can potentially leave. Therefore any employment initiatives that are intrinsically linked to training and strengthening the skills base, should be fully explored. Employers need incentives and young people need training and employment opportunities

  3. This feels like a headline grab to me and shouldn’t distract from the great work Banks do in employing young apprentices. The Barclays scheme is exceptional! Perhaps MPs should look to encourage governing to employ more apprentices as at the last count I think the number was in single figures?