Cost of jobless young on rise

THE rising number of unemployed young people in Suffolk is costing the taxpayer �1.1million a week, a new report has claimed.

The study, carried out by The Prince’s Trust and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), warns that the price of youth unemployment nationally is at a new high.

In Suffolk, the number of 16 to 24-year-olds claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) for 12 months or longer has hit a 12-year high as well as more than increasing five-fold since before the recession.

The report states that, based on lost productivity being equivalent to the average weekly wage for their age group, the cost of youth unemployment in Suffolk has risen to �1.1m a week.

Graham Ball, regional director of The Prince’s Trust in the East of England, says: “The annual cost for an individual jobseeker in Suffolk can be as much as �16,000. The argument for intervention and support is unquestionable.

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“For a fraction of this cost, The Prince’s Trust can support a jobless young person through an intensive personal development course, helping them leave the dole queue for good.”

The report also shows how the significant rise in youth unemployment since before the recession has left the UK with a much higher youth unemployment rate than many of its European neighbours, such as Germany, Denmark, Austria, Norway and The Netherlands.

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Fionnuala Earley, RBS economist, added: “As the UK struggles to clear record levels of national debt, we cannot afford to ignore the growing costs of youth disadvantage.

“This is not just a welfare burden – lost productivity and wasted potential directly affect the rate of economic growth in the UK.

“It’s crucial for the economy that young people have the skills and confidence they need to find work and view entrepreneurship as a realistic option.”

According to the research, young people with few qualifications have been hit particularly hard by the recent recession.

The Prince’s Trust and RBS Cost of Exclusion report goes on to show how educational underachievement in the UK costs �22billion for a generation.

This represents the impact of education on wages and employment chances and the ‘wage scar’ over a lifetime.

In the East of England, one in ten 16 to 24-year-olds now leave school without qualifications.

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