Denise Hatton, Chief Executive, YMCA England & Wales, said:

“In response to the Chancellor’s budget, the commitment to protecting nurseries and preschools from rising costs through guaranteed future funding is welcomed. However, there are areas where the budget could have done more to support early years education, particularly for 3—and 4-year-olds, and targeted investment in the workforce to tackle recruitment and retention challenges.

“The lack of support for youth services, mental health, and unemployment prevention is disappointing. YMCA has urged the government to provide funding for universal youth services and additional support for young people under 25. Addressing these issues is crucial for ensuring the well-being and prospects of young people and communities.

“Furthermore, the budget falls short of adequately addressing the housing and homelessness crises. While the extension of the Household Support Fund and abolishment of the Debt Relief Orders fee are positive steps, a more comprehensive approach is needed. YMCA recommends a significant investment in building new affordable housing to meet the growing demand and provide stability for vulnerable individuals and families.

“While the Chancellor’s budget has positive aspects, there are many more missed opportunities to fully support young people and address critical issues affecting communities across the country. This budget was a chance to reignite hope amongst the younger generation, but today’s announcements fell short.

“YMCA remains committed to advocating for policies that prioritise the wellbeing and future opportunities of all individuals, particularly those facing challenges in accessing education, affordable housing, and support services related to mental health.”

Featured photo:
A photograph of the Spring Budget 2024 in No 11 Downing Street. Picture by Kirsty O’Connor/HM Treasury