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UK: Disenchanted Youth Cost Government Billions

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UK: Disenchanted Youth Cost Government Billions

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In the United Kingdom, a “lost generation” is placing a heavy financial burden on both the taxpayer and economy, costing the UK billions each year.

Of those aged 17-24, approximately 1.2 million are NEETs—young people “Not in Employment, Education or Training.” They are beset with homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, mental illness and other problems, relying on social programs to survive.

The substantial price tag is making the government and citizens of the United Kingdom take notice. A recent report by the Prince’s Trust broke down the stunning costs of providing for NEETs: 160 billion pounds per year for educational underachievement; 180 million per week for youth unemployment; and 1 billion pounds incurred for crimes committed among this group.

Most problems begin with educational underachievement, poor performance in schooling or dropping out altogether. This makes it difficult to find steady work.

With low-paying jobs or no jobs at all, the NEETs begin lives of poverty, poor health and crime—fostering a reliance on government handouts. The average NEET costs the government 194,000 pounds in his lifetime, with the worst cases costing 600,000 pounds.

Martina Milburn, the chief executive of the Prince’s Trust, stated this about NEETs: “With youth crime costing upwards of 1 billion pounds [$2 billion] and public costs for treating depression at between 11 and 28 million pounds [$22 and 56 million], the total bill for educational underachievement is undeniably huge” (The Telegraph).

“These young people lack confidence and faith in themselves,” Ms. Milburn added. “They are disenchanted to the core.”

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