A THIRD of people claiming unemployment benefit in some parts of Britain are aged between 18 and 24, according to new research yesterday.
The GMB union said Wales topped the youth unemployment league, followed by the North East, Northern Ireland and the East Midlands.
There were 23,150 claimants aged 18 to 24 in Wales last month, 33 per cent of the total, compared with a national average of 28 per cent, said the union.
In some parts of Wales the figure rose to 37 per cent, with seven regions of Wales featuring in the top 10 areas with the highest percentage of young claimants, said the GMB.
GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: "In the UK there are nearly 400,000 young workers aged 18-24 claiming jobseeker's allowance. When you add to that number the rest of the young people not in jobs but seeking work the real number is more than double that figure. In the UK as a whole the number of young workers aged under 24 seeking work is nearly a million.
"Young workers are the real economic victims of this bankers' recession. The Government is in denial that it is deliberately creating unemployment. This week GMB listed that 140,456 posts are under threat in local authorities across the UK and these posts are being deleted by vacancies not being filled and by voluntary redundancy."
Employment Minister Chris Grayling said: "The trade unions need to understand that the youth unemployment challenge this Government faces is a direct consequence of the failings of the last Labour government.
"We have inherited a legacy of 600,000 young people who have never worked since leaving school or college.
"Labour failed on the economy, and its efforts and schemes to tackle youth unemployment failed too.
"We think young people deserve better – that's why we're investing in apprenticeships to create long-term jobs and are developing work experience opportunities so that young people get the skills and experience they need to successfully compete in the labour market."