Ulster Unionist MLA for Mid Ulster, Sandra Overend, today pressed the DEL Minister during question time over what action he intends to take to combat youth unemployment following more money being allocated to the Northern Ireland Block Grant.
The DEL Committee member stated:
"The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg recently announced plans for the ‘Youth Contract’ which is an initiative to create new opportunities for young people, including apprenticeships and work experience placements. I had asked the Finance Minister whether this money, which equates to nearly £1 billion, has a Barnett consequential, meaning that Northern Ireland would be entitled to more money as a result. I received a response from the Finance Minister which stated that the Northern Ireland Block grant would indeed receive a Barnett consequential on both the allocation and savings of this initiative, resulting in a net addition of £26.5 million over the three year period from 2012-13.’
‘Today during question time I pressed the Minister on how much of this money he would bid for to come to his own department given our own problems with youth unemployment, which has risen by 155% since 2008. I was disappointed that the Minister was unable to give me a direct answer and I would urge him to ensure that a proportion of this extra money is used for new initiatives and projects to deal with youth unemployment in Northern Ireland. It is up to the Minister to put the case for this important cause.’