In the UK, the proportion of 18 to 25-year-olds not engaged in full-time education or employment is down from 19.4. per cent. in 1997 to 18.1 per cent. today. There are 707,000 in England—that’s 15 per cent. Of these, 243,000 are looking after a family or home. 85,000 own their own home outright, or are buying their own home. Those on out of work benefits are already subject to conditionality but, as we have already announced, new measures will be taken to ensure that the unemployed, and those on sickness benefits will be given extra help to find work.
The 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 18.1 per cent. in the three months ending March 2008 from 19.4 per cent. in 1997. We have seen an increase of 503,000 in the number of 18 to 24-year-olds in full-time education, a rise from 22.7 per cent. to 28.6 per cent.