SEP Young black men still over-represented in London’s benefit claimant figures, says charity

23rd September 2014

According to the Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG), a London based charity, the latest claimant count figures still show that young black men are significantly over represented within London’s unemployed. Black males make up 6 per cent of London’s youth population (aged 18 to 24) but 17 per cent of London’s young Jobseekers Allowance claimants.

The Action Plan to Increase Employment Rates for Young Black Men in London – recently published by BTEG – revealed the views of 200 young black men about their experiences of finding work in the capital. The young people in the study believe that ‘racism and negative stereotyping’ are the main reasons for their high unemployment rate. They also believe there is a need for more black male business role models in their communities to help them access social and professional networks to improve their employment opportunities.

BTEG calls on the London Mayor to make young black men, rather than all ethnic minority young people, a specific priority group in the new £500 million European Social Fund programme for London, as black people are the only group of young people who are over-represented in the JSA claimant figures and young black men experience the highest unemployment rate. The charity also calls on the Mayor’s London Enterprise Panel to set a target to reduce the unemployment rate of young black men to the average for all men aged 16-24 by 2018.

Jeremy Crook OBE, Director of BTEG, says: ‘BTEG welcomes the fall in youth unemployment in the UK but it’s no longer tenable to ignore the challenge facing young black people in London. Young black people have become the elephant in the room because everyone knows there is a problem but no one wants to talk about it and do something about it. Jobcentre Plus has made a start in London funding four projects aimed at young black men but they now need an action plan to deal with this issue. London’s young population is diverse and it’s clear the one-sized fit’s all approach is not reaching and helping many young talented black men and women.’