Friday, 21 January 2011

Fears For A 'Lost Generation'

Youth unemployment could be costing £155 million a week

By Ben Aulakh

Fears that the current economic crisis could lead to a ‘lost generation’ in the UK remain strong as figures show youth unemployment has stayed close to the one million mark.

The number of unemployed between the ages of 16 and 24 has stabilised at between 951, 000 and 952, 000, the highest rate of youth joblessness since records began in 1993.

More than a fifth of young people are now classified as being out of a job, with the number of 16 and 17 year olds out of work having risen by 27, 000 towards the end of 2010.

A report published last year by the Prince’s Trust and the Royal Bank of Scotland estimates that the current level of youth unemployment is costing the government £155 million a week.

Fionnuala Earley, an Economist at RBS said, “As the UK struggles to clear record levels of national debt and to compete on an international scale, we simply cannot afford to ignore the growing costs of youth disadvantage.

“By giving young people the skills and confidence they need for the workplace, we can help address the deficit, lift the load on the taxpayer and strengthen our economy and communities across the UK.”

However many experts are predicting that the Coalition’s scrapping of the EMA grant – which helps young people stay in education after 16 – as well as the Future Jobs Fund, will only worsen the current situation.

Martina Milburn, Chief Executive of the Prince’s Trust warns that this record level of youth joblessness could be contributing to the £1.2 billion a year cost of youth crime

“Youth disadvantage in the UK is a financial burden on us all and at the Prince’s Trust we also see the devastating effects on individuals and communities.

“Every day at we meet another young person who is caught in a spiral of joblessness and poverty.”

Figures from the Trust also show that the UK’s youth unemployment rate is higher than many of its European neighbours, such as Germany, Denmark, Austria, Norway and The Netherlands.

More than a quarter of young men with few qualifications are now unemployed - a much higher proportion than in previous recessions.

This level of educational underachievement across the country could cost £22 billion in terms of the impact on wages and employment chances over this generation’s lifetime.

Photograph from

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