Two thirds of young people believe their generation will be worse off than their parents, report finds

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 8 July 2019 in News

In a new report, ‘Overcoming the Poverty of Hope’, the charity found 62 per cent of 16-24-year-olds feel the government cares more about older generations than their own

Teenagers - image credit: Open Aye

Two thirds of young people in the UK believe their generation will be worse off than their parents, Barnardos has found.

In a new report, ‘Overcoming the Poverty of Hope’, the charity found 62 per cent of 16-24-year-olds feel the government cares more about older generations than their own, while 35 per cent said they felt negative about their future, citing a lack of jobs, financial pressure and unaffordable housing.

Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said the report, based on a YouGov survey of 1,036 young people as well as feedback from the charity’s users, showed young people “feel ignored by society and decision makers who are focussed on the concerns of older generations”.

It found 54 per cent saw climate change as one of the most important issues facing the country over the next three to five years, with 42 per cent saying older generations don’t seem to understand or be interested in this issue.

Brexit was identified as an important issue by 62 per cent of the young people polled, while one quarter highlighted their concerns over the economy.

Barnardos is making 11 recommendations to government, aimed at helping young people, including “urgent and sustained investment” of up to £20.5bn a year in children and adolescent mental health services, as well as for ministers to ensure all young people can access guidance on safe social media use.

It is also calling on governments across the UK to commit to increasing investment in community youth work and to funding a long term, multi-agency strategy to tackle the root causes of youth violence.

Barnardos recommended that child victims of criminal exploitation should not be criminalised, with young people who are forced into gangs, to carry knives, traffic drugs, or commit other offences instead treated as victims.

Khan said: “While material poverty is part of the problem, many children and young people today also feel there is little or no possibility of a positive future, what we call a ‘poverty of hope’.

“The voices of young people are missing from debates about the challenges facing the country. They feel ignored by society and decision makers who are focussed on the concerns of older generations.

“Collectively, we can help young people overcome this poverty of hope by believing in them, nurturing their talents, providing opportunities, knocking down barriers, and listening to them when it comes to decisions that affect their futures.”

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