Peter Hoskin

A NEET idea?

A NEET idea?
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The number of NEETs – that’s those young people Not in Education, Employment or Training – has swollen over the past decade. There were 154,000 NEETs aged 16-18 in 1997, and some 206,000 at the beginning of 2007.


To tackle the problem, James Purnell yesterday announced a crackdown on young benefit claimants. 18 year-old NEETs will have to look for work or face having their benefits stopped, and if they haven’t found work after six months of JobCentre Plus supervision then they’ll be drafted into private/voluntary sector programmes (this contrasts with a one-year period for the unemployed members of most other age groups).


It exemplifies the tough-love brand of welfare reform espoused by David Freud, and continues the Government’s recent progress in this area. But we shouldn’t get too excited just yet – after all, linking rights and responsibilities hasn’t exactly been Labour’s strong suit (see p54 of this report).  And there are signs that Brown is countering Purnell’s reform agenda with some (centralised, high-spending) welfare measures of his own…