A 120% rise in youth unemployment in the North East has created an emergency that must be tackled, a commission chaired by David Miliband said yesterday.
Long-term unemployment among young people in his own South Shields constituency jumped by 210% in 2011, increasing from 150 to 465 people.
But the Commission on Youth Unemployment found similar “hotspots” in every single council area across the region.
It said 12.53% of 16 to 24-year-olds were on jobseekers’ allowance in the Washington North ward, the ninth highest in the United Kingdom.
In Newcastle, it found 1,175 more young people claiming benefit – and more than 13 times more young people doing so for a year or more – than before the recession.
Nationally, the report from the commission chaired by Mr Miliband identified 600 hotspots across the UK, covering 152 local authority areas, where the proportion of young people claiming jobseeker’s allowance was double the national average.
The commission estimated at least one in four young people are not in employment, education or training (NEET) as it warned the “emergency” of youth unemployment was a £28bn “timebomb” under the UK’s finances. The current levels of youth joblessness will cost the public purse at least £4.8bn this year, but the wider costs will be even greater, said the report.
And the Government was urged to do more to help young people find work, including a part-time job guarantee for those on the Work Programme for a year.
The report also called for a new national programme to work with teenagers, as well as a mentoring scheme for young people.
Mr Miliband said: “The North East isn’t top of this league that it is bad to be top of, but it’s not bottom either.
“So, it has been hard hit,” he added, highlighting the 200% increase in South Shields in the claimant count over six months in 2011 and the 120% rise across the North East as a whole.