Coalition hails sharp drop in the number of teenage Neets

Ben Southwood
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THE GOVERNMENT says it will work “night and day” to further reduce the number of young people who are not in education, employment or training (Neets), after stats showed that there were fewer 16 or 17 year old Neets in the fourth quarter of 2012 than in the same period of any previous year.

There were 61,000 Neets aged 16 or 17 in the final three months of last year, the Department of Education revealed yesterday, down 24,000 on the same period in 2011 – and lower than in any other fourth quarter since the survey began in 2000.

The news comes before the government’s plans to force youths to stay in education for longer. From this year, teenagers will be unable to leave school until 17, and from 2015 they will be required to stay on until they are 18 years old.

The coalition’s skills minister, Matthew Hancock, said the numbers were “extremely welcome”, adding that trainee and apprenticeship programmes would further cut the number of Neets in the UK.

Yet Labour’s shadow minister for young people hit back, arguing that the government’s abolition of the education maintenance allowance was still responsible for a large number of Neets in the UK.