01 February 2005
UK Chancellor Gordon Brown urges young people to give up backpacking in their gap year and offer them cash to stay in Britain to help disabled people and the environment.
The chancellor launched a programme to raise volunteer numbers by 1 million to four million and appeals for business sponsors.
He wants half of youngsters to volunteer in the community and plans to extend schemes where 18-year-olds get public money if they spend their gap year in local voluntary work.
A government spokesman said yesterday: "This would mean that instead of backpacking overseas or sitting at home for a year, young people would have a financial incentive to volunteer to work restoring parks and playgrounds in inner-city estates, or providing home help to older and disabled people."
Mr. Brown tells a conference at the Treasury: "Let us set an objective: that national youth community service becomes a feature of the lives of the majority of young people. Let us set a practical aim: that the majority of young people do volunteer and that over the next five years 1 million new young people become volunteers."