Budget Cuts and Young People
Young People today are facing a myriad of crises. There is no longer a guarantee of support for the most basic of human rights, and many are seeing their chances of a further education slip out of grasp. This week we’re exploring the impact Government Cuts, and how Young People in particular are suffering.
Hunger and Housing
A recent report by Oxfam and Church Action on Poverty (Walking the Breadline) has highlighted the shocking rise in the number of people in the UK now relying on emergency food aid from Food Banks to feed themselves and their families. The continuing rise in unemployment, coupled with rising food and fuel costs, and an alarmingly high rate of benefits being delayed, reduced, or removed altogether, has led to the staggering sum of 500,000 people in the UK turning to Food Banks to feed themselves in 2012 and 2013. In a previous statement, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Trussel Trust claimed that the figure was 350,000, which in itself is a triple in numbers from the previous year, 2011. According to the report in London alone the figure almost trebled from 14,569 in 2011-2012 to 42,064 in 2012-2013. Britain is one of the richest country in the world, and yet the number of people living in poverty is on the rise.
Young People in particular have been affected by changes to Housing Benefits and Social Housing Tenancies. Loss of benefits, increased rent or simply an inability to qualify for Social Housing schemes, mean that homelessness is on the increase and those who are secure in a property may face poverty and hunger.
Community Services and Social Work
Local Authorities are having their budgets slashed, and not being bound by law to provide community services for children and young adults, these have been reduced dramatically. Organisations like Connexions, that I’m sure many people in their mid to late twenties remember as being a great resource for information and support around further education and getting in to employment, have been drastically cut. And local schemes such as Youth Clubs, or more targeted support to help guide youngsters away from lives of crime and drugs, are disappearing.
Rising costs of Education plus loss of funding
University fees continue to soar. Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is gone. For many young people, the £30 a week from EMA meant the difference between further study and joining the masses of unemployed. Travel costs, food, books etc are unattainable for many young people without this help and they’re subsequently unable to study. Without this training, young people are ill equipped to join a work force which is already difficult to break in to. If a graduate can find it so difficult to find work, what hope is left for those who have not had the finance or support to become educated?
Disability Living Allowance
Only few months ago DLA (Disability Living Allowance) was cut and replaced with PIP (Personal Independence Payments). Iain Duncan Smith Work and Pensions Secretary said they wanted to put a stop to the “ridiculous” system of payments without checks. Indeed, the system needed reforming to ensure benefits are paid to those that need them and tackle fraud. The goal of PIP however seems to be to cut spending, but the real cost is to vulnerable people.
David Cameron et al will have us believe that things are tough all over, and these drastic cuts must be made to secure a more stable future for Britain. But when those most affected by these cuts are our next generation of working Brits, something has got to give.
How have the budget cuts affected you?
And where do you think the government needs to make changes the most?