The Back Youth Alliance is a collaboration of senior leaders and youth representatives from some of the UK’s leading youth charities, working together to present a coherent voice to decision-makers with and for young people.
The youth sector gives critical support, providing a lifeline for many vulnerable young people, particularly those living in areas of deprivation. Yet at a time when young people most need this support, the youth sector is facing an unprecedented funding crisis.
We readily welcome the fact the Government has listened and announced a £16.5 million dedicated youth covid-19 support fund that will support youth organisations continuing to deliver through the winter months.
The Chancellor announced £100million to fund NCS and youth facilities in the Spending Review. This focus on investment in youth facilities is welcome at a time when youth service transformation and expansion is needed most. However there has been no mention of the £500 million Youth Investment Fund manifesto commitment which was promised over a year ago. Without confirmation of this funding, this means that delivering on the Government’s agenda of levelling up and providing transformational opportunities for young people is at risk and will be delayed for another year.
We are urgently seeking clarity around the status of the Youth Investment Fund, as for every year we delay in delivering the much needed revenue and capital funding for services, the more young people lose out, and the more society misses out on young people’s potential to help us build back better.
The British Youth Council welcomes the Chancellor’s latest announcement in Parliament confirming the government’s £2bn “kick start” scheme. Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced the government’s plan to launch the new fund with the intention of creating more jobs for young people by subsiding wages for up-to six months.
Research from the Resolution Foundation claims young people have been more likely to lose work since the outbreak of Coronavirus. One-third of 18-24 year old employees have lost jobs or been furloughed, compared to one-in-six prime-age adults. Similarly, 35 per cent of non-full-time student 18-24-year-old employees are earning less than they did prior to the outbreak.
Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, Chair, British Youth Council said: “Young people have been significantly affected by the impact of Coronavirus, with many losing their jobs, some earning much less and others being put on furlough.
“This is a welcome move from the government to get young people working, and the Chancellor must go further if we are to address the significant impact Coronavirus is having on young people.”
The National Youth Council, also welcomes the Chancellor’s commitment to encourage businesses to hire more young apprentices, with a new payment of £2,000. The British Youth Council believes this will allow young people the opportunity to learn about working life and the working environment and to gain experience in particular jobs. However, the government will need to do more if it is to truly to support the prosperity of young people. 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.
The British Youth Council were reassured to see measures announced that would encourage business to provide work experience to trainees but urged the government to ensure the recovery from the crisis isn’t placed on the shoulders of young people. Unless young people are also paid a living wage for the work that they are doing as a part of this programme, this may become an attempt to take the work of young people and exploit it for the benefit of everyone else. The government must ensure young people will see the benefit of the £1,000 investment, but it must all assure young people that these opportunities are meaningful and inclusive.
The youth-led charity has been highlighting the impact Coronavirus has had on young people living across the UK. Speaking on behalf of its members, the charity asserts that young people must continue to have a voice within this crisis so multitude of issues they’re facing can be addressed.