Belfast Telegraph

Young people on the dole costs £4.5m every week

By Patrice Dougan

Up to £4.5million a week is being lost in Northern Ireland due to unemployed youth, according to research from The Prince’s Trust and Royal Bank of Scotland.



The Cost of Exclusion report highlights a steep rise in the number of long-term unemployed young people in this country, with the amount of 16 to 24-year-olds claiming jobseeker’s allowance for 12 months or more at a 12-year high. The figure has also increased more than seven-fold since before the recession.

The report, based on research conducted by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, concluded the cost of youth unemployment could be estimated at between £1.6m and £4.5m per week.

At the lower end of the scale — based on lost productivity being equivalent to job seeker’s— they suggested youth unemployment could cost more than £1.6m.

And based on lost productivity being equivalent to the average weekly wage for the age group, they put the cost of youth unemployment in Ulster at £4.5m a week. “We cannot afford to ignore the growing costs of youth disadvantage,” RBS economist Fionnuala Earley said. “This is not just a welfare burden — lost productivity and wasted potential directly affect the rate of economic growth in the UK.”

Ian Jeffers, country director for The Prince’s Trust in Northern Ireland, said the charity is working hard to help young people “leave the dole queue for good”.

“Every day at the trust we meet another young person who is caught in a spiral of joblessness and poverty,” he said.

“With the right support, these young people can break this cycle and get their lives back on track.”

More than three in four young people supported by The Prince’s Trust move into work, education or training.

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