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Fear that 45,000 young people in West Midlands could be left unemployed by coronavirus crisis

By Mark Cardwell | Birmingham | News | Published:

Up to 45,000 young people in the West Midlands could become unemployed as a result of the coronavirus crisis, the police commissioner has said.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson

A report on policing and crime during the region’s recovery states young people will be “most heavily affected” by unemployment.

The report by the office of police and crime commissioner David Jamieson cites an estimate made by the Resolution Foundation that 640,000 18 to 24-year-olds will become unemployed across the UK this year.

By applying the foundation’s methodology to the West Midlands region, the office of the PCC came up with a “low estimate” of 35,000 to 45,000 additional 18 to 24-year-olds unemployed.

The report states the region “could in reality see much more if we see a depression and an especially high impact on elementary jobs”.

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The report states: “Unemployment and a collapsing economy leads to more people living in deprivation.

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“If large scale unemployment arrives as expected, many households in the West Midlands will possess a damaging lack of material benefits considered to be basic necessities in a society.

“Young people especially, will suffer from growing up in these circumstances.”

Drastic

Speaking about a perceived link between unemployment and crime, the report said: “[…] the West Midlands could be on the cusp of a drastic increase in crime.

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“As stated above, many of the communities are deprived already and populated with people who work in the most at-risk jobs.

“Should these individuals lose their jobs and their economic situations become too perilous, then they may not be able resist turning to criminality.”

The report states there would be an increased likelihood of “young people entering criminality”, and also says school closures mean children will be more vulnerable to being exploited by county lines offenders.

The report also states the pandemic has had or is likely to have a negative impact in relation to youth violence, fraud, courts backlog, homelessness, victims services, child sexual exploitation and substance misuse.

The report makes a series of pledges of what the PCC’s office will do as well as recommendations for other organisations such as local and central government.

Research by the Reach Data Unit showed that between March and May this year, an extra 28,340 people in Birmingham alone began claiming unemployment benefit.

Council housing officers predicted a “new wave” of homelessness and rough sleeping when the current ban on evictions is lifted and unemployment continues to rise.

Mark Cardwell

By Mark Cardwell
Reporter - @mlrcardwell

Local Democracy Reporter covering Birmingham.

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