Britain has produced a generation of "uber-chavs" who are unteachable and unemployable, a senior teaching official has claimed.
Ralph Surman, a national executive member of the Association of Teacher and Lecturers, said a significant number of young people who were brought up by single mothers in the 1980s are now doing nothing with their lives, have no work ethic, few social skills and cause higher crime rates.
Mr Surman, a deputy head of Cantrell Primary and Nursery School in Bulwell, Nottingham, said: "We must talk about a class of uber-chavs. They are not doing anything productive and are costing taxpayers a fortune.
"It is very difficult, almost impossible, to take these people now and provide basic social and work ethic skills.
"The offspring of the first big generation of single mothers were children in the 1980s. Now they are adults with their own children and the problems are leading to higher crime rates and low participation in the labour force."
He spoke after figures obtained by the Conservatives showed the number of 18 to 24-year-olds classed as Neet - young people not in education, employment or training - has soared over the last five years.
Unemployment rates among 20-year-olds alone has rocketed by almost 50 per cent since 2003.
David Willetts, Conservative shadow skills secretary, who obtained the figures following a Parliamentary question, said: "The rise is vivid evidence of the deep problems in our education and training system.
"People are dropping out once school finishes because they can't find the right opportunities. From 18 onwards, the position is especially bad."
The number of 18 to 24-year-olds Neets increased from 590,000 to 730,000 over the last five years. They make up 16.6 per cent of 20-year-olds compared to just 12.8 per cent in 2003. Numbers increased by 38,000 to 113,000, figures show.
Mr Surman's comments were criticised by David Mellen, head of education at Nottingham City Council, who said the term "uber-chav" demonises young people and is damaging.
Mr Mellen said the number of NEETs was falling in Nottingham, adding: "We are talking about young people here and [uber-chavs] is an irresponsible term to use. The comments are ill-informed in light of the reduction in crime in the city and the reduction in young people who are NEET." (By Nick Britten Last Updated: 7:26PM GMT 09 Feb 2009)