The British government will offer to pay half the salaries of youths to companies who hire them in a bid to curb record youth unemployment. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced the $1.54 billion subsidy project aimed to get more than 400,000 unemployed youth working, The Daily Telegraph reported. Employment figures published Thursday showed youth unemployment has risen 12 percent in the past year to more than 1.16 million. Clegg said youth unemployment was \"an economic waste and a slow-burn social disaster,\" the newspaper said. \"We need the next generation to help us build a new economy,\" he said. \"If people are out of work when they\'re young they bear the scars for decades.\" The deputy leader also warned youth they had to hold up their end of the bargain and actually work, otherwise they shouldn\'t \"expect to live your life on benefits.\" Funding for the project will come from a freeze on tax credits for workers earning as much as $43,000 per year, the report said.