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Mayor of London Boris Johnson has told young unemployed people in the capital to learn from the work ethic of foreigners.

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Mr Johnson, who will again be the Tory candidate in May’s mayoral election, said London is “a fantastic creator of jobs” — but many vacancies are being snapped up by hardworking immigrants.

.He said: “They are hardworking, good people, and we need to learn from them and understand what it is that they have got that makes them able to get those jobs that young Londoners don’t have.”

He went on: “There are large numbers of job vacancies. Why are young people not taking up those jobs? How can we help them? That is the key problem for our economy.

“Let’s talk about the work ethic. I don’t want to stigmatise young people because many of them do have the aptitude. But we need to face up to these issues.

“In some cases it can come down to the fact that the jobs are there and people need to have the energy to go out and get them.

“These are tough things to say for people facing hardship.”

In his interview with The Sun, Mr Johnson continued: “In this city, there are jobs going. It’s vital that Londoners have the skills and the aptitude but also the energy and the appetite for work as well.”

This week it was revealed unemployment has reached a 17-year high and the number of young people out of work has reached a record level.

The figure jumped by 118,000 to 2.68 million in the three months to November, the worst since the summer of 1994, giving the UK a jobless rate of 8.4 per cent.

The number of unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds increased by 52,000 over the quarter to 1.04 million, the highest since records began in 1992, while the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance in December increased by 1,200 to 1.6 million, the highest for a year after the 10th consecutive monthly rise.

A YouGov poll has put Labour’s Ken Livingstone slightly ahead of Mr Johnson Johnson in the race for City Hall.

Mr Johnson stands on 49 per cent, trailing two points behind challenger Mr Livingstone on 51.

Brian Paddick for the Liberal Democrats, lags way behind on seven per cent.

Do you agree with the Mayor’s comments on young unemployed people’s work ethic, or lack of it? Add your own comments below.

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