James Moore: Helping the wasted Neets should be urgent priority

Outlook It seems the Christmas spirit is strong in Wales and it has infected the Office for National Statistics, which provided a little present for everyone with yesterday's GDP revisions.

The pessimists (and there are a lot of them) were given every reason to feel their predictions of doom are justified by the fact that the UK's annual growth was left unchanged at a torpid 0.5 per cent.

That is not least because growth ground to a halt in the second quarter, being revised down from 0.1 per cent to zero.

But the optimists, and there aren't many of them outside the Government benches in the Palace of Westminster, were given some crumbs of comfort too in that third-quarter growth was revised upwards, to 0.6 per cent from 0.5 per cent thanks to a stronger-than-expected service sector.

Whichever way you slice and dice the numbers, though, one thing that hasn't changed is that there are over 1 million young people who contributed absolutely nothing to them as result of their status as Neets, which means not in employment, education or training.

Neet is a really rather tidy little acronym that attempts to sugar a very bitter pill, rather like referring to shooting your own troops as "friendly fire" or to shooting civilians as "minor collateral damage".

The current generation of political leaders have been squeezing the young economically in a quite unprecedented manner. They had free higher education and grants. They imposed tuition fees of £9,000 a year. They had access to mortgages. Getting one of them as a first-time buyer was extremely difficult even before the Financial Services Authority introduced rules to make it even harder. And so on.

The economic cost of the misdeeds of their parents has fallen squarely on the young, and no group has been squeezed more than the Neets. The trouble is that if you squeeze something too hard it has a tendency to pop.

Letting such a huge body of people go to waste is dangerous socially and economically foolish. It is also morally indefensible.

The deputy prime minister Nick Clegg appeared to have at least recognised the problem by putting aside some cash to subsidise youth employment.

Welcome enough, but basically window dressing. More needs to be done, and quickly. We know all about the budget deficit and how it has to be cleared. But tidying up the Neets should be an equally high priority.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£30,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a perso...

Richard Bishop: Accounts Payable Clerk

£11 - £13 Hourly Rate: Richard Bishop: Are you looking for a purchase ledger r...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you qualified accountant with previous exp...

Richard Bishop: Accounts Payable Clerk

£11 - £13 Hourly Rate: Richard Bishop: Are you looking for a purchase ledger r...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor