YOUTH unemployment has reached crisis levels, the Government was warned yesterday – after figures showed the region’s jobless count doubled in nine months.

The number of under-24s claiming jobseeker’s allowance for at least six months soared from 3,040 to 5,915 in the North-East and North Yorkshire, Labour revealed.

That rise – of 94 per cent, between January and September – masked even bigger increases in many parliamentary constituencies, according to the study by the House of Commons library.

North-East blackspots were Washington and Sunderland West (up 145 per cent), Bishop Auckland (up 133 per cent), Hartlepool (up 132 per cent) and Darlington (up 123 per cent).

But the youth jobless count is also rising in North Yorkshire, particularly in Harrogate and Knaresborough (up 200 per cent), York Outer (up 160 per cent) and Richmond (up 83 per cent).

Labour said it was fresh evidence that the Government’s harsh cuts were threatening to create a “lost generation”.

Staging a Commons debate, Liam Byrne, the party’s work and pensions spokesman, said: “Youth unemployment is reaching crisis levels. The longer someone is out of work the harder it is to get them back into work.

“When communities are seeing long-term youth unemployment rise by more than 100 per cent since the election, we know the Government has got to change course – and fast.”

But David Cameron said his Government was doing “everything we can”.

He told MPs: “Obviously, we face a difficult situation with unemployment, including among young people, right across the country.

“That is why there is record investment going into apprenticeships and the Work Programme.”

Labour has unveiled a fivepoint plan for jobs, including a tax on bank bonuses to guarantee a job for 100,000 young people and build 25,000 affordable homes.

The Government’s response will come later this month, when Chancellor George Osborne unveils “growth measures” in a crucial autumn statement.

Across the country, total youth unemployment stands at 991,000, about one in five 18 to 24-year-olds – and the highest figure since the statistic was first recorded.