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August 20, 2009 12:25 PM

A senior Newcastle Liberal Democrat has expressed concern at the record number of 18 to 24 year olds who are not in school, college or work.

Ron Beadle, Lib Dem Parliamentary spokesman for Newcastle North, spoke out after Government figures revealed that there are now more than 100,000 more 18 to 24 year olds considered to be "Neet" - not in education, employment or training - than there were at this point a year ago.

"It is deeply worrying that there are so many young people not in education, employment or training," said Ron Beadle.

"There is a real danger that the Labour Government is creating a 'lost generation' of people who will leave school with few qualifications and will never have a job."

The rapid rise is thought to have been fuelled by the recession and a lack of jobs available for school and university leavers.

In total, 835,000 18 to 24 year olds are now Neet, up from 730,000 for the same time last year.

The statistics, published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families are for the second quarter of 2009.

The statistics also show a surge in the numbers of 16 to 18 year olds considered Neet.

There are now 233,000 Neets in this age group, 13,000 more than the first quarter of 2009, when the figure stood at 220,000.

In the second quarter of 2008, 209,000 16 to 18 year olds were Neet, 24,000 fewer than the same quarter this year.

Overall, one in six 16 to 24 year olds - 15.9% - are now Neet; 959,000 youngsters in total.

"In Newcastle North recent figures show that unemployment has risen by nearly 75% in the past year," said Ron Beadle.

"The recession is really hitting home in Newcastle. I was unemployed in the 1980s and so I know what it's like for many people right now.

"Gordon Brown talks about creating jobs and helping people in the recession, yet the truth is that there has been a huge jump in unemployment in the past year.

"Unemployment now stands at its highest level since 1995 and youth unemployment has jumped to a 16-year high.

"It must be difficult for young people leaving school, college or university and finding there are few jobs out there.

"I'm a lecturer at the Newcastle Business School and I know that many of my students are finding it hard to get jobs once they graduate."

A total of 2,145 people are unemployed in the constituency - an increase of 911.

The male unemployment rate in Newcastle North stands at nearly one in 10 and ranks among the worst in England.