Windfall should be spent on youth jobs

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COUNCIL bosses are being urged to spend a shares windfall on creating new apprenticeships for jobless school leavers.

Wigan town hall is set to receive a one-off £1.55m double dividend following its reduced stake in Manchester Airport Group as a result of the takeover of Stansted Airport.

All nine Greater Manchester councils with a reduced 3.3 per cent share are set to receive the payment.

Now the Community Action Party is urging the local authority to create a windfall of 150 further funded apprenticeships for young people out of work, education or training.

Deputy leader Michael Moulding said that the cash should be used to invest in Wigan’s future and our young people now by creating an additional apprenticeships for young.

He claimed that the council spent money on projects that add “little value” to the borough’s economic future.

He said: “In these tough economic times, when young people in Wigan are struggling to get the skills and jobs needed for the borough’s economic future, we say use this one-off bonus payment now to fund an additional 150 apprenticeships for our young people in the Borough. This would be money well spent for years to come.”

Deputy council leader Coun David Molyneux confirmed that thanks to its minority shareholding in the Manchester Airport Group, the council had received an initial payment of £1.6m and would now receive a further £750,000 later this year.

But he said: “We never budget for this money so it is additional income and, at these times of austerity measures, very welcome indeed. It will go into a general pot and we will make sure we spend it wisely.

“The council has a long-established commitment to tackling youth unemployment and supporting young people into work. This is perhaps best shown by our own recruitment programme.

“We currently have 42 apprentices working for the council and we’re hoping to take on another six soon. In addition, we’ve created a graduate programme and will be taking on three recent graduates in the next few weeks.”