Although there has been a divergence in the development of youth policy across the UK, no country comparisons have been undertaken and a gap exists in the literature. This article focuses on the emergence of youth policy in England and Wales under New Labour (1997–2010), providing a cross-national comparison of policy developments in both countries. It critically explores the impact of the context for policy development and the policy content of both countries' key youth policies. The research found significant differences between the two, despite their common goals, with implications for future policy makers. This article identifies these differences, and the key similarities, providing a theoretical understanding of them and indicating lessons to inform future youth policy.