An inability to access the new National Living Wage, a loss of Housing Benefit for 18 to 21-year-olds and a lack of youth-targeted apprenticeships means that young people have missed out most from today’s Budget, says YMCA, the largest youth charity in the world.
In proposals laid out in Parliament by Chancellor George Osborne MP, young people appear to be hard done by in three separate areas of policy regarding pay, housing and training.
Additionally, the Government has announced that Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants* would have their benefits cut by £44 a week.
When taking into account the total number of young people (18 to 24-years-old) within this portion of ESA claimants in the country, 21,000 would end up worse off, using today’s figures**. Of those young people on ESA, just under three in five (58%) claim as a result of suffering with mental health issues.
Denise Hatton, Chief Executive at YMCA England, said: “There is a lot of detail still to come out from Government around some of the measures announced in today’s budget, but I do believe that more could have been done to target specific support at young people.
“The Chancellor confirmed in his speech the policy of ‘earn or learn’ for 18 to 21-year-olds, yet this was not backed up by specific measures to make this happen. The additional apprenticeships pledged will not help young people if, as happened in the last Parliament, the greater number of them are going to those aged 25-plus.
“YMCA also remains concerned about the removal of automatic entitlement to Housing Benefit for 18 to 21-year-olds.
“Contrary to what has been previously said, the fact is that the majority of young people on Housing Benefit are not on it because they have simply made a choice to leave home and live on benefits. They are on it because their circumstances mean they have no choice. While noting the Government announcement to include exemptions for the most vulnerable, it is imperative that the form that these will take are laid out specifically.”
The proposed changes that will affect young people include:
- The National Living Wage will apply only to people aged over 25-years-old, meaning young people will have to remain on the lower National Minimum Wage.
- Young people aged 18 to 21-years-old will lose automatic entitlement to Housing Benefit.
- The new apprenticeship levy will not specifically support young people, despite a clear need and demand for 16 to 25-year-olds to sign up.
There are 114 YMCAs operating across England and, combined, they support a total of 228,000 young people.
The charity provides 9,831 beds predominantly to young, homeless people. These beds range from emergency accommodation for young rough sleepers to supporting accommodation and move-on beds for those hoping to enter private renting. YMCA also helps almost 43,000 people to engage in education, skills and training every year.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with Chief Executive, Denise Hatton, or Director of Policy, Research and Communications, Jason Stacey, please contact Media Manager, Andrew Mortimer, on Andrew.email@example.com or 020 7186 9543 / 07972 669 623