Businesses will be urged to give more jobs to young UK workers instead of “falling back” on foreign labour, in a speech by the work and pensions secretary today.
Addressing the Spanish Foundation for Analysis and Social Studies in Madrid, Iain Duncan Smith will say that, if immigration is not controlled, the UK risks losing “another generation to dependency and hopelessness”.
He will state that, between 1997 and 2010 more than half of the rise in employment in the UK was accounted for by foreign nationals.
“Of course immigration plays a vital role in our economy when it fills a clear gap in skills,” Duncan Smith is expected to say. “But good immigration is managed immigration – it should not be an excuse to import labour to take up posts which could be filled by people already in Britain.”
Youth unemployment hit record levels in February and those with degrees were also found to be struggling, with recent data from the Association of Graduate recruiters showing that graduates are facing more competition for jobs than ever before.
The Government has already made moves to tackle this problem by investing £180 million in apprenticeships to create 50,000 additional places over the next four years and putting a cap on non-EU skilled workers.
Duncan Smith will add: “We believe that government should support young people to find real, sustainable jobs in the private and voluntary sectors – jobs that lead to real careers.
“Government can do its bit, but business also has a responsibility to drive the recovery and help our young people get their first foot on the jobs ladder.”