Labour leader Ed Miliband has accused the Government of "betraying" young people by scrapping the guarantee of an apprenticeship for 17 and 18 year-olds.
The claim came in a speech in which the Labour leader warned that today's young people are set to be the first generation in more than a century to end up worse-off than their parents.
The abolition of the apprenticeship entitlement, coupled with soaring university tuition fees and the loss of Educational Maintenance Allowances, the Future Jobs Fund and Child Trust Fund are making it harder than ever for young people to aspire to get a good job and own their own home, he said.
He is backed by Labour peer Lord Alan Sugar - star of the The Apprentice - who says that little-noticed provisions in the Education Bill will mean there is no longer a "sustained focus" on increasing apprenticeships.
Speaking during a shadow cabinet awayday in Gateshead, Mr Miliband said that the Government's policy of cutting the state deficit as far and fast as possible is "destroying the chances of children and young people and undermining Britain's future in a profound way".
He said: "My fear is that instead of a national mission to pass on a fairer legacy to our kids, this Government seems to be kicking away the ladders.
"It all adds up to a Government which is betraying the promise of Britain to help the next generation get on."