IPPR proposes strategy to ‘abolish Neets’

20 Nov 13
An influential think-tank has called for out-of-work benefits to be withdrawn from all but a small minority of young people.

Instead, under-25s should get financial support from a ‘youth allowance’ that will be conditional on participation in intensive training or job seeking, the Institute for Public Policy Research said. This would be paid at a standard rate and means-tested on the basis of parental income for those aged under 22, mirroring rules for access to the higher education maintenance grant.

Graeme Cooke, IPPR research director, said the number of young people in the UK who are not in education, employment or training – so-called Neets – was a ‘scar on our nation’.

He said: ‘Our goal should be to effectively abolish Neets, as they have successfully done in the Netherlands and Denmark.’

Other ideas put forward in the IPPR’s Neet report include a ‘youth guarantee’ to offer young people access to further education and intensive support to find work. This is estimated to cost £2.3bn for a cohort of 770,000 young people. Funding for the guarantee would come from redirecting expenditure on 18- to 24-year-olds in the Work Programme, along with adult skills and apprenticeship funding for the over-24s.

There should also be a requirement on large firms to offer apprenticeships or pay towards a ‘youth levy’ and resources and responsibility for young people should be devolved to London and the eight core cities.

‘In contrast to previous initiatives and attempts to reform in this area – Connexions, the New Deals, the Work Programme and the Youth Contract – this strategy aims to solve the fundamental failures if the school-to-work transition system, rather than making up for them,’ said Cooke.

‘It creates the potential to drive improvements in further education and vocational training provision, alongside increasing employer engagement in the educational system. It includes those on inactive benefits and is built around practical activities not merely advice and guidance. And it seeks to restructure the opportunities and obligations facing young people through deep institutional reform.’



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