Record NEET figures the result of Osborne’s ignorant, short-sighted ideology

The number of young people not working or learning is now at record levels and there is little to suggest the situation will improve, says Sally Hunt.

Official figures published today reveal almost one in five 16-24-year-olds (1,163,000) are not in education, employment or training – an increase of 137,000 on this time last year; the number of young people not working or learning is now at record levels and there is little to suggest the situation will improve, says Sally Hunt, General Secretary of the University and College Union (UCU)

Labelling this government as out of touch with ordinary people and driving through ideological rather than necessary cuts is a popular past-time, but a quick analysis of what is happening to our young people makes for quite difficult reading.

With the job market getting tougher by the day for young people access to education and careers advice has never been more important.

However, the government has trebled tuition fees, axed vital financial student support (in the form of the education maintenance allowance – EMA) and got rid of the future jobs fund. There are not even spurious economic arguments the government can use to defend this approach.

The hike in tuition fees will cost the treasury in the short-term as it funds increased student loans and the removal of the EMA will leave government with a benefits bill that exceeds the cost of the EMA as young people cannot afford to stay in college.

One in five young people is now classified as not working or learning and that has huge implications for their future and the economy. A study (pdf) released last year estimated the lifetime cost to the economy of 16-18 year-olds not in education, employment or training in just one year could be as much as £77 billion.

Today’s figures are a worrying reminder that we need to do more to help young people get on – not price them out of education and consign them to the dole queue. Public spending on education in the UK is falling at the fastest rate since the 1950s and the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned the government’s austerity programme will cut the living standards of Britain’s families by more than 10% over the next three years.

Most worryingly, it concluded it will be those on the lowest incomes who will suffer the most. The government cannot simply push ahead with policies that leave young people without access to the key things that help us get on in life – education and work. The short and long-term needs of the country depend on a highly-skilled workforce.

If the government thinks the price of education is expensive, it should consider the cost of ignorance.

See also:

Stories from the economy, or: The prospects for young people, and other grim talesRichard Exell, November 17th 2011

Million young unemployed figure highlights enormity of the situation hitting our youthRory Weal, November 16th 2011

Osborne’s refusal to increase demand leaves young unemployed without hopeTony Dolphin, November 14th 2011

The devastating crisis hitting Britain’s young peopleRory Weal, November 9th 2011

IFS: Education spending will “shrink” at fastest rate “since at least the 1950s”Shamik Das, October 25th 2011

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15 Responses to “Record NEET figures the result of Osborne’s ignorant, short-sighted ideology”

  1. David Gillon

    Record NEET figures the result of Osborne’s ignorant, short-sighted ideology: http://t.co/FiVhDvOJ by @UCU’s Sally Hunt

  2. Michael

    Record NEET figures the result of Osborne’s ignorant, short-sighted ideology – http://t.co/mRfO2bTp

  3. Political Planet

    Record NEET figures the result of Osborne’s ignorant, short-sighted ideology: The number of young people not wor… http://t.co/DrwAFl9t

  4. Matthew Wilson Eames

    Record NEET figures the result of Osborne’s ignorant, short-sighted ideology: http://t.co/FiVhDvOJ by @UCU’s Sally Hunt

  5. Alex Braithwaite

    RT @leftfootfwd: Record NEET figures the result of Osborne’s ignorant, short-sighted ideology http://t.co/W2jdzNQM

  6. Janet Edwards

    RT @leftfootfwd: Record NEET figures the result of Osborne’s ignorant, short-sighted ideology http://t.co/W2jdzNQM

  7. Little Angussie

    Oh you stupid tribal woman. There is no work for young people because your last labour government stuck 50% to University mostly for largely meaningless courses with no prospects of a job. Also in 2009, the figures were well over a million in Quarter 3 also.

    Dont blame this government yet as they are still struggling under the bankrupcy you left them with. How do you expect in these days when most firms are struggling to keep from going to the wall, for them to take on young people and have to pay them over £6 an hour when most of them can hardly write their name?? Not all, but a large proportion of leavers are not interested in school and if they are not causing trouble, coast through and do not learn enough to equip them for the jobs market.

    It is OK in an economic boom which was artificially created by Brown, for companies to absorb the £6 an hour minimum wage on employing youngsters but not in the bust situation we are in now.

    If you want to do any good, campaign for the abolishing of the minimum wage for under 24 years old NEETS because no firm will take a chance on them just now. By the way, by striking to protect your own interests while the rest of us have to pay for your job security and high pensions and perks, you are doing the country more harm. It does nothing for your credibility to write such a one sided critique of the present situation that the Labour party did most to create.

  8. Braylon Iyer

    Record NEET figures the result of Osborne's ignorant, short-sighted … http://t.co/LmwnFiuJ

  9. Alex

    It is amazing how much people put party politics down to what is an international problem that is largely reflected in the same way in this country as in every other developed nation in the world…

  10. Sarah Louise Barry

    Record NEET figures the result of Osborne’s ignorant, short-sighted ideology: http://t.co/FiVhDvOJ by @UCU’s Sally Hunt

  11. VeeBee

    http://t.co/3upa7uId Left Foot Forward: Record #NEET figures a result of Osborne's short-sighted, ignorant ideology #youthunemployment

  12. Jamie

    Record NEET figures the result of Osborne’s ignorant, short-sighted ideology http://t.co/V1mkE3hE

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