The Chancellor today unveiled a package of measures to boost employment, including help for young people looking for a job.
With youth unemployment nearing a million, Alistair Darling said more help was needed for the age group, as well as for older workers.
He told the Commons that, from next month, no-one under 24 needed to be unemployed for longer than six months - down from the current 12 months - before being guaranteed work or training.
The Chancellor also confirmed plans to give a guarantee of a place for every 16- and 17 year-old in education or training again in September 2010.
Other measures included a cut in the minimum number of hours those over 65 need to work to receive Working Tax Credit, while support for mortgage interest payments for the unemployed will be extended for a further six months.
"Unemployment in the UK will keep rising for some time and promoting employment remains a top priority for the Government," said Mr Darling.
He made it clear the Government wanted to guarantee that anyone in work will always be better off than they were on benefits.
There are now more than a million 16 to 24-year-olds who are "Neet" - not in education, unemployment or training - according to official figures published last month.
And one in 10 16 to 18-year-olds are Neet, the statistics showed.
This is despite a Government target to reduce the proportion of young people not in education, employment or training to 7.6 per cent by next year.
Some 1,082,000 16 to 24-year-olds are Neet, the figures showed.Reuse content