Jane Stevenson, MP for Wolverhampton North East, has called for the “levelling up” of opportunities for young people in Wolverhampton, as the city’s youth unemployment rate remains the worst in the country.
In a question to the Prime Minister yesterday (27th October), Jane said that youth unemployment in Wolverhampton was already unacceptably high before the coronavirus pandemic. She said that she had lobbied Government ministers for better training and skills provision for young people in the city.
Jane said: “The Prime Minister will know that I have lobbied for funding for better training and skills provision for young people in Wolverhampton. The youth unemployment rate was unacceptably high pre-pandemic; now, sadly, it is the highest rate nationally.
“Will the Prime Minister urgently look at how the Government can level up opportunity so that young people in Wolverhampton can get the skills and the confidence that they need to find work?”
In response to Jane’s question, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “She is absolutely about Wolverhampton; that is why we are working flat out to ensure that young people in Wolverhampton benefit from the kickstart scheme, and we are working with Wolverhampton Council to ensure that young people get bespoke support for their return to work.”
Moments later, the Chancellor unveiled his Budget in which Wolverhampton was allocated £20 million from the Levelling Up Fund for the City Learning Quarter project. This would see Wolverhampton College relocate from its Paget Road campus to a new purpose-built facility in the city centre.
Jane welcomed this funding, as well as some of the other announcements in the Budget including a beer duty cut of 5% on draught beer and cider; a 50% cut to business rates for leisure, hospitality and retail businesses; the extension of the popular Holiday Activities and Food programme for schoolchildren; and the freezing of fuel duty for the 12th year in a row.