The British Youth Council has expressed deep concern for the ramifications of the cost of living crisis on young people. In a letter to the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss MP, the charity called on the government to take steps to protect young people from deepening poverty before we approach the winter of 2022.
The plea follows research and expert opinion which indicates the UK is facing a “significant humanitarian crisis” this winter due to the rising cost of living. The British Youth Council was particularly concerned for almost four million young people already experiencing entrenched inequality. The charity is concerned that any further fluctuations in the cost of living will affect the most disadvantaged young people. Speaking on behalf of its members, the charity asserts that young people must continue to have a voice in this crisis so the multitude of issues they’re facing can be addressed.
Speaking on behalf of the charity, Sarah Staples, Chair of the British Youth Council said: “We welcome the appointment of the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss MP, and look forward to maintaining a close relationship with the government so we can continue to ensure young people’s voices have a place in the heart of government.
“We have a list of pleas for the incumbent Prime Minister and her wider cabinet to address in the coming weeks and months, but we must start with addressing the biggest issue facing the country and young people; the cost of living crisis. We know that almost four million young people find themselves living in poverty and the government must take radical action if we are to prevent further devastation to the lives of young people later this year.”
The British Youth Council affirm that no child or young person should live in poverty in the UK, and every young person should have a decent standard of living, irrespective of their economic status. The council has been clear the government must give all children in families the same rate of child benefits. It is clear that larger families are more likely to be in poverty and raising the child benefit level for the younger children in large families could be a simple and direct way of increasing vital support.
The National Youth Council also believes that to fully support young people, the government should compel businesses to comply with the living wage as set out by the Living Wage Foundation. All work must at the very least provide a route out of poverty and this cannot be done when young people are significantly underpaid.
Representing millions of young people from across the UK, the youth-led organisation asserts that health care and nutrition are major factors for young people living in poverty. All young people and students should be entitled to free health, dental care and prescriptions. They also conclude there should be free school meals for all young people to ensure that every young person receives at least one balanced meal per day.
The national charity, which has a long history of supporting young people to define their own actions for change, has been campaigning and amplifying the voices of young people on a number of issues. Child poverty, the climate emergency, mental health and its recent renewed efforts to address democratic unfairness through its campaign for votes at 16 are just some of the issues facing young people. These campaigns form part of the British Youth Council’s vision for a world where young people’s views are not only sought but acted upon.