Daily roundup: youth unemployment, benefit cap, and mental health

Neil Puffett
Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Government advisers brand Youth Contract a failure; benefit cap not helping struggling households into work research finds; and child mental health survey needs to be reinstated, say psychiatrists, all in the news today.

The government's Youth Contract has had a minimal impact on youth unemployment and should be replaced, say advisers. Image: Tom Julier
The government's Youth Contract has had a minimal impact on youth unemployment and should be replaced, say advisers. Image: Tom Julier

The Government’s flagship scheme to tackle youth unemployment has been branded a failure by its own advisers, who have urged ministers to offer a “work guarantee” to jobless under 25-year-olds. The Independent reports that the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission has discovered that only 21,000 applications were made to the Youth Contract by May this year, and only 2,070 payments made for young people completing 26 weeks on the scheme. This means that, a quarter of the way through the programme, only one eighth of the places, and one-eightieth of the subsidies, have been used.

A report has predicted that the government's benefit cap will struggle to meet its aims of encouraging people into work and saving money. The BBC reports that a study by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) found that just 10 per cent of 747 households affected in Haringey were known to have found jobs and nearly half got extra funds from the council to make up for money lost. The research found that about 2,300 children were affected by the cap in Haringey alone, with larger families losing the most.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is calling on the government to reinstate the child and adolescent psychiatric morbidity survey as a matter of urgency. The College believes that the survey, which has not been carried out for almost a decade, would provide vital data on children and young people’s mental health and help improve the commissioning and delivery of child and adolescent mental health services. The College’s call comes head of today’s Commons Adjournment Debate on child and adolescent in-patient mental health services.
Overweight children should be encouraged to keep a food-and-activity diary, in order to lose weight, guidance has suggested. The BBC reports that public health guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says getting parents and their children to track what they snack on and how much TV they watch could help. The guidelines also recommend greater support from local authorities, but say families are at the heart of managing the issue.


Many students with eating disorders struggle to get the treatment they need at university, the charity Beat has warned. Without help, students with eating disorders risk dropping out of their studies, says Beat. Almost a fifth (18 per cent) said their condition had forced them to drop out of their degree course, while a further 39 per cent had to take a break from their studies.

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