'Postcode lottery' in life chances

Young people in Hull West are three times more likely to be unemployed than those in Oxford West, according to a new website designed to highlight the "postcode lottery" in life chances.

The website - www.comparefutures.org - allows users to compare the prospects of adolescents by constituency.

It shows that youngsters in Harrogate are seven times more likely to go to a top university than their peers 20 miles away in Bradford.

Researcher Dr Judith Watson, from the University of Brighton, said: "While a few young people have a straightforward journey from full-time education into a career, that is no longer the case for most. In some parts of the country what awaits them is the revolving door between unemployment and casual work."

By typing in a postcode, users can also compare the predicted futures of young people compared to the national average. Founders hope the website will spur users to lobby their MP for action.

Annika Small, chief executive of the Nominet Trust, which funded the project, said the data proves "the postcode lottery is not a myth but in fact a harsh and very bleak reality for Britain's young people".

She added: "We'd urge policy makers, youth workers and other professionals working with young people to take note of the fact that our current system is failing today's youth, and that a fresh approach is required."

The study comes as figures show the percentage of 16 to 18-year-olds not in education, employment or training rose last year.

Figures are based on census data from the period 2001 to 2005.