The British Youth Council has stressed radical intervention is needed to combat the cost of living crisis and to prevent further children and people from falling into poverty. The statement follows the British Youth Council’s Annual Council Meeting, where members renewed their support strong economic package for young people.
The charity demands greater recognition, awareness and support for young people, acknowledging the unique hardships young people have faced over the last decade. As some of the biggest victims of the cost of living crisis, young people are confronted with rising rents, energy and transport costs.
Wages for workers aged 18-21 have fallen by over 19% in real terms since 1997, with workers aged 22–29 have remained virtually stagnant over the period, rising by only 2%. This is in stark contrast to those over 50s who have enjoyed a huge 25% rise in their earnings. As a result, the so-called “intergenerational pay gap” has widened by over 50%. These issues have been exacerbated by the government’s refusal to introduce a real living wage for all workers, irrespective of age.
Speaking out on the cost of living crisis, Sarah Staples, Chair of the British Youth Council said: “The cost of living crisis will deepen child poverty if the government isn’t prepared to take radical steps to protect children and young people.
“Young people want to see further action on the cost of living crisis urgently, and rightly so. It is not acceptable that almost four million young people are already experiencing entrenched inequality. The government must take further steps to avoid any additional pressure on children and their families.”
The youth-led organisation, which represents millions of young people across the UK, wrote to the Prime Minister, Liz Truss MP and the newly appointed Minister for Civil Society, Lord Kamall, to highlight young people’s deep concerns about the cost of living crisis. More information about the new policies ratified by its members at the charity’s Annual Council Meeting has been published to the public.
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 alongside child poverty. The climate emergency, mental health and democratic parity through its campaign for votes at 16 in all UK elections are just some charities. 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.