“YOUNG HIT HARDEST BY LOCKDOWN FINANCIAL SQUEEZE” – BBC REPORTS

This confirms the need for a national mission to help the next generation.

It was concerning to read this report on the BBC highlighting research by the Office for National Statistics that younger people may be hardest hit by the economic impacts of the virus.

The ONS state “Young people and those renting may find it difficult to cut back on spending because they spend a lower proportion of their budget on goods and services that are not essential”. The ONS highlight the position of renters of whom are significant proportion are younger people.

The ONS state: “While evidence suggests that both the youngest and oldest workers have been hit by furloughing and job losses, younger households are less likely to have enough savings to cover a loss of income and less likely to be able to cut back on spending.

I know that there are a range of issues which make demands on the income of young people and we must continue to act so that they have improving prospects as we hopefully emerge from the virus.

Need a “Jobs Plan” says Learning and Work Institute

There needs to be a range of policies in response to this situation do I welcome the proposal by the Learning and Work Institution for a Jobs Plan to prevent job losses like the Great Depression. UK and Welsh Governments have already made significant interventions to support the economy but it is clear the UK Government may need to unlock more investment to help society recover from the virus.

The proposals include “A Youth Guarantee to prevent a rise in long-term youth unemployment, including maintenance support to help 18 year olds to stay on in education; an Opportunity Fund to create ring-fenced temporary jobs for young people; and reforms to the apprenticeship system to re-focus funding on young people”.

The Institute’s Chief Executive Stephen Evans said “We need a Plan for Jobs whose ambition matches the scale of the challenge by driving employment growth, guaranteeing young people work or training, and providing rapid employment support to the millions of people who now find themselves unemployed”.

Conclusion

In our Senedd debate on Wednesday (10th June) we welcomed

“the constructive discussions the Minister for Economy has had with all parties about how we emerge from Coronavirus with the best possible prospects for young people.

Recognises the need to work in social partnership with trade unions and business to Build Back Better for the future”.

For my I hope that can include cross party co-operation on a form of Guarantee – that would need specifying and funding – as was highlighted by Plaid Cymru in the debate, or by the Institute for learning and Work in their report.

 

With each passing day I am further convinced that amongst the many priorities facing our UK and Welsh Governments in the months ahead we must help to build back better for our young people.  

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