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Huge rise in number of young people not in education, employment or training, new figures show

NEU executive committee member warns ‘there is a growing danger of a crisis of unemployment among young people’

THE NUMBER of young people not in education, employment or training has shown its biggest quarterly increase in almost a decade, new figures have revealed.

There were 797,000 so-called “neets” in the last quarter of 2020 — up by 39,000 on the previous quarter, and 34,000 more than in the same quarter in 2019 — according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures published today.

About two out of five were classed as “unemployed and looking for work” and the remainder regarded as simply “economically inactive.”

National Education Union executive committee member Gawain Little said that the figures were “another illustration of the government’s complete mismanagement of the economy through the Covid-19 crisis.”

He said: “There is a growing danger of a crisis of unemployment among young people, a generation left with access neither to education nor jobs, and we urgently need a change of direction, and real investment that gives young people a future.”

The ONS said that the latest quarterly increase was the largest since the third quarter of 2011, and was almost entirely driven by an increase in economically inactive men.

ONS head of labour market and households David Freeman said: “After reaching a record low last quarter, the number of ‘neets’ has now seen its largest quarterly increase since its 2011 peak.

“This follows the economic impact of the most recent heavy Covid-19 restrictions, and tallies with other recent data that suggests almost three-fifths of the fall in employees since the onset of the pandemic has been among the under-25s.”

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