“Last week it was widely reported in the media that the number of young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) had grown during the last quarter of 2011 and that 178,000 16-to-18-year olds in England are now NEET. This has coincided with the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), a grant paid to young people from low income backgrounds to encourage them to stay in training.
There may well be a relationship between the rising number of NEET young people and the demise of EMA, but it is important to stand back and consider this issue within its broader political and economic context. The scrapping of this benefit is only part of a broader programme to redistribute wealth away from the poor towards the rich. Whilst EMA was deemed too expensive to run, many of the UK’s largest companies are being paid almost £1 billion to operate various ‘work experience’ schemes for young people outside education and employment. This raises a thorny question: why can the state afford to pour public money into the coffers of employers when it can’t afford to help young people further their education at school or in college?”
Get the full story.