Neet figures: More young people without work

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A total of 954,000 young people were not in work, education or training in England in the first three months of this year, the latest figures show.

Compared with this time last year, that is a rise of 29,000 and a record rise for that quarter.

And compared with 2008, it is 143,000 higher.

The statistics on young people classed as "Neet" (not in education, employment or training) fluctuate during the year, peaking in late summer.

The government says it is working to bring down the figures by improving schools, overhauling vocational education and boosting the apprenticeship programme.

A spokesman said: "The number of young people not in education, employment or training has been too high for too long. We are driving up standards right across the schools system to bring the numbers down.

"We are investing almost £1bn in the Youth Contract to support 16-24-year-olds into education, training and work."

The statistics are released quarterly.

Karen Buck MP, Labour's Shadow Education Minister, said the statistics were "very worrying".

"They show the highest first quarter Neet figures since records began and an increase of 26,000 since the General Election," she said.

"The Tory-led government's cuts in education are the biggest since the 1950's. Its economic strategy, which has resulted in a double dip recession made in Downing Street, is hurting and not working."

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