The number of ‘Neets’ – young people not in employment, education or training – has jumped by more than 70% since 2001 in parts of southern England, according to figures obtained by the Conservative Party, the Financial Times has reported.
The figures show a 73% increase in 16 to 24-year-old Neets in the South West to 78,000 by the first quarter of 2009.
Neet numbers jumped 71% in the South East to 130,000.
David Willetts, the shadow universities and skills secretary, who obtained the numbers through a parliamentary question, said: “On top of Wednesday’s terrible unemployment figures, today we discover there have been increases in Neets in every region.”
Angela Eagle, work and pensions minister, said: “Young people can be scarred by the slowdown, which is why we are determined to provide help and support, so we don’t abandon an entire generation as the Tories did.”
The number of 18- to 24-year-olds out of work reached 722,000 in the three months to June, up 46,000 from the three months to March 2009. The Office of National Statistics also reported that 12.6% of 16- to 24-year-olds – around 928,000 people – are now unemployed.