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.
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'
Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains
Company says data is only collected under 'temporary' identities that are discarded every 15 minutes
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Some experiencing postnatal depression don't realise there is a problem. What can be done?
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming street artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 5 The inventor of the Facebook 'like' button says he never made a 'dislike' button because he feared the 'unfortunate consequences'
Ukraine crisis: Donetsk 'tactical missile' explosion at factory sends blast wave across rebel-held city
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming street artist's identity has been revealed
Super-sized ships arrive in Britain: How big can they get?
Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
iJobs Money & Business
£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Admini...
£18 - 23k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Customer Service Executiv...
£60 - 65k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a ASP.NET Web Developer / ....
£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...