LET’S BACK APPRENTICESHIPS – My article for the Stockport Express

Plumber and apprenticeLast week, I was lucky enough to be drawn in a ballot in the House of Commons, meaning I will be one of the first to get to propose my own law in the House, formally known as a Private Members’ Bill.

It isn’t every day that you get to do something like this. Back in 2010, I was lucky enough to get my own legislation through Parliament. The Act has clamped down on ‘vulture funds’, which are private equity firms that buy up the defaulted debts of the world’s poorest countries at very low prices and then take them to court to aggressively recoup the debts at full value. The funds can no longer use British courts to pursue countries eligible for debt relief, and a number of other countries are beginning to follow Britain’s lead. I am very proud of this achievement – but I have the chance to make a difference again.

I have been thinking long and hard about what to propose. Some MPs propose very specific laws; last year, Neil Carmichael proposed the Antarctic Bill, for instance, which entered the statute books earlier this year. I am looking a little closer to home. I am hoping to introduce a Bill to tackle the problem of youth unemployment in Stockport and around the country. I hope to do this through kick starting the creation of apprenticeships, by forcing large companies receiving public money to give real jobs to more youngsters, teaching them the skills they need to enter the world of work with confidence.

The government spends around £230bn a year on procurement. If companies gave an apprenticeship to one young person for, say, every £1m they receive, then we could potentially see many more apprentices. This Bill is a simple solution to a very damaging problem.

Youth unemployment is a massive problem here, with 250 young people in my constituency alone having been unable to find a job in more than six months. I hope the Tory-led government and the Labour opposition in Parliament will join forces to back my much needed Bill. We need it now more than ever.

This article has been written for the MP’s column in the Stockport Express and Stockport Times newspaper

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