The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, has said he would seek to take away benefits from young people who refused to take up education or training opportunities. In a BBC interview he advocated a "carrot and stick" approach - education maintenance allowances balanced by "compulsion if necessary".
Earlier this month, the Department for Education and Skills confirmed plans to raise the school leaving age in England, in effect, by 2013.
Mr Brown said young people must realise they could not receive benefits unless they were "contributing to their own training".
He also called for employers to take a more active role in training young people.