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Youth unemployment in Tower Hamlets is the highest in London, shock figures show

PUBLISHED: 13:32 12 October 2011 | UPDATED: 14:31 12 October 2011

Young people in the East End face becoming the "lost generation" as shocking new figures show Tower Hamlets has the highest level of youth unemployment in London.

Those in their late teens and early twenties have emerged as the biggest losers of the recession as government statistics released last night show the number looking for work is almost double the London average.

Youth charities have warned that the impact of joblessness could have devastating consequences for young East Enders.

Jennifer Fear, chief executive of Step Forward said being out of work denies young people “realistic long term goals”.

A total of 3,460 people aged 18 to 24 were registered as claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in Tower Hamlets last month – up from 2,850 a year ago.

No other borough apart from Newham has more than 3,000 claimants.

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, warned the area faces a legacy of “wasted talent and abandoned hopes” among its youth.

Ms Ali, a director for Bethnal Green-based enterprise charity the Young Foundation, said: “Week after week I hear stories from young people who want to work and have the skills to be successful in employment, yet cannot find work.

“The government must do more to make sure that today’s young people do not become the lost generation of this decade.”

Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, said 8.2 people chase every job in his constituency.

But Tower Hamlets Council said there have been advances among those in the younger age bracket.

The authority said the number of 16 to 18-year-olds out of education, training or work has dropped to 5.3 per cent, lower than the 6.6 per cent national average.

The council – which is responsible for supporting under 19s and residents under 26 with special needs – also said it is running more apprenticeships, with 1,000 taken up in the past three years, and is on track to fill 1,000 Olympic jobs.

Nationally, there are almost 150,000 vacancies in the retail, hospitality and construction industries, the Department for Work and Pensions said yesterday.

Employment minister Chris Grayling said new work academies - which offer training and guaranteed job interviews in those sectors – will ease unemployment.

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