New report gives A voice to young people, aged 16-25, on the cost of living crisis
Today the End Child Poverty Coalition launches a new report titled ‘We’re Skint; Young People’s Experience of the Cost of Living Crisis’. The report highlights that young people aged between 16 and 25 are both concerned about the rising cost of living, and are worrying about their future in relation to this crisis. From the 476 people surveyed the main findings include:
- 97% felt the rising cost of living was a problem for young people;
- 98% were worrying to some degree about their future in relation to the rising cost of living;
- People who were carers, were living alone or who came from lower income families were most likely to be worrying about their futures;
- The impact of the crisis was felt in many aspects of the lives of young people, including: their physical and mental health, their ability to gain independence from families, and their ability to meet their financial outgoings.
The concept behind the report and the writing up of the findings were developed by the Coalition’s Youth Ambassadors. This is a group of 10 young people aged between 16 and 25, the majority of whom have experience of growing up in a low income family, or who are currently living in poverty.
This group of Youth Ambassadors feel that the challenges faced by young people are often overlooked by MPs. For example, the report highlights that despite the announcement in the recent Autumn Statement that there will be a raise to both the legal minimum wage, and the rate of benefit payments, the amounts for those under 25 are still significantly less than for those who are older. Under 25s automatically receive less in Universal Credit payments, simply because of their age, irrespective of their own circumstances, for example.
The report features quotes from young people highlighting their personal experience of the crisis, including:
A young person from England aged 22 said:
“We don’t know how much longer we can buy food for. We don’t have the heating on yet and plan not to turn it on until we physically can’t be without it. Making rent and council tax payments is the aim at the moment, bills are the goal, food and everything else after that has become secondary.”
A young person from England aged 24 said:
“It’s driving me deeper into anxiety and depression. I work 40 hours a week and I’m still below the poverty line. Not sure how much more I can take.”
A young person from England aged 24 said:
“My generation can’t afford things the way our parents and grandparents could. I’m sick of renting but can’t afford a home. I was told my 20s would be full of adventures and travelling- I can’t afford any of that.”
Victoria Bogle, an End Child Poverty Youth Ambassador and joint author of the report, said:
“The report comes at a critical time for young people who are trying to navigate independence, new challenges and a post pandemic world. This was my experience when I graduated this year from university and the experiences of many others I know. Young people have nowhere to turn to get support and their voices are not being heard in the cost of living crisis. Our report aims to give young people a platform to share their experiences and advocate for the support they need.”
The report is being launched to MPs in Westminster, and the Youth Ambassadors will be calling for them to:
- Ensure that the real-life experiences of 16-25 year olds, including those who are living in low income families, are heard, understood and acted upon by decision makers.
- Ensure that benefit payments consistently rise in line with inflation, and that young people aged under 25 receive the same amounts as those over 25 years old.
- Ensure that students from poorer backgrounds are financially supported to go to university, and that no young person lives in poverty as a result of going to university.
- Ensure that everyone is paid a real living wage, irrespective of their age.
- Ensure further targeted support to help young people pay their bills.
- Ensure the government is investing in social housing, ending no fault evictions and developing schemes which help young people become home owners.
Notes to editors
- The End Child Poverty coalition (www.endchildpoverty.org.uk) is made up of around 80 organisations from civic society including children’s charities, child welfare organisations, social justice groups, faith groups, trade unions and others, united in our vision of a UK free of child poverty. These include Child Poverty Action Group, The Children’s Society, Buttle UK, Gingerbread, Oxfam GB, Action for Children, Trade Unions Congress, Save the Children, and the National Children’s Bureau.
- You can get in touch with the coalition by emailing email@example.com or on 07918 567577.
- Youth Ambassadors, some of whom have grown up in low income families, are available for interview
- From Monday 28th the web address for the report will be: endchildpoverty.org.uk/skint/