Leading unions have clashed with the Government over new figures showing more than a million young people are not in work, education or training, virtually unchanged from the start of the year.
The Skills Minister said the figures included the lowest comparable level of 16 to 18-year-olds for 13 years, but union leaders said the data “shamed” the Government.
There were 1.09 million 16 to 24-year-olds in the UK not in education, employment or training (Neet) in the quarter to June, down by 1,000 from the first three months of the year and by 104,000 from a year earlier.
The percentage of young people classed as Neet was unchanged at 15.1 per cent, said the Office for National Statistics.
Just over half of the young people were looking for work, so were classed as unemployed, with the rest either not looking for or available for work – known as economically inactive.
Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: “With GCSE results out today, I am heartened to see the fall in the number of young people not in work, training or education. We are heading in the right direction, but one young person out of work, education or training, is one too many.”
Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said: “The slow rate of progress in getting our young people into work, education or training shames this Government. Every statistic represents a young person who is being given no hope for the future.”