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Volume 472: debated on Thursday 21 February 2008

20. To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent estimate he has made of the number of 16 to 24-year-olds not in education, employment or training. (187388)

Although responsibility for 16 to 17-year-olds is a matter for the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and is a shared responsibility for 18-year-olds, the Government are tackling vigorously the important issue of young people not in education, employment or training.

The UK has a dynamic and flexible labour market with one of the highest employment rates in the G7. Youth unemployment has fallen since 1997 and the proportion of 18 to 24-year-olds not engaged in full-time education or employment is down to 18.0 per cent. in 2007 from 19.4 per cent. in 1997. We have seen an increase of 501,000 in the number of 18 to 24-year-olds in full-time education, a rise from 22.7 per cent. to 28.3 per cent.