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Young NEETs cost Welsh economy £2.25bn

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Plaid calls for Youth Jobs Guarantee to get young people into work and training

Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans has warned that the Welsh economy will lose out by up to £2.25bn if we do not get younger people into work or training.

At the end of 2013, there were around 14,000 16-18 year olds who were ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training’, 12% of young people at that age.

Reports by the Audit Commission in England, based on research by York University, estimate a lifetime cost of £56,000 to the public purse because of people not being qualified for work, through welfare payments, criminal justice, poor health, and unpaid tax and national insurance, with a further £104,000 per person cost due to missed opportunities and work that they would have created.

Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans has called for the adoption of a youth jobs guarantee scheme for young people aged 16-25 that would ensure anybody in that age group out of work for more than four months would have the right to a job or training.

Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans said:

“With youth unemployment above 30% in some parts of the country, it is crucial that we do not have a lost generation who don’t know what it is like to go to work.

“In Arfon nearly one in five of our young people are out of work, in Blaenau Gwent it is more than one in three. These are dreadful figures.

“As part of our Budget deal in 2012, Plaid Cymru ensured 5,500 new apprenticeship opportunities, supporting small and medium sized businesses with training new staff.

“Increasing the aims and ambitions of young people is vital if we are to improve the Welsh economy, through traditional qualifications and vocations opportunities to allow them to reach their potential.

“Plaid Cymru will adopt the European Youth Guarantee so that under 25s who have not been in education, employment or training for four months are given real opportunities to improve their skills and find work, improving their self-confidence and life chances. “

Most students stay in school, training or college up to the age of 18 and there are very few job opportunities for those who leave school at 16.

Many end up as Not in Education Employment or Training (NEETs).

At the end of 2013, about 12 per cent of 16 – 18 year olds were estimated to be NEET.

Jill Evans MEP added:

“There is a huge economic cost through this - £160,000 per person.

“The lifetime costs of someone being a NEET at a young age is £56,000 per person because of the money paid out in social security, health, criminal justice, and tax and national insurance.

“Then there’s the ‘opportunity cost’ to the economy – what these people would have created if they had got work, created jobs for others and been a more productive part of society, looking after other people rather than needing support themselves.

“At around 14,000 16 -18 year olds this is over £2.25bn lost to our economy in Wales over their lifetimes.

“It is time for us to give some hope and aspiration for our young people by giving them a guarantee of education, employment or training.”

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