Ministers must help young people out of rent arrears and put financial education on the curriculum to ease the “disproportionate” impact of Covid-19 on their wellbeing, a group of MPs has said.
Government support so far is “not enough” to mitigate their emotional, financial and employment worries as the country emerges from lockdown, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Youth Affairs said after gathering evidence from young people and expert organisations.
“Young people as a generation have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic,” said Lloyd Russell-Moyle, chair of the APPG and Labour Co-op MP for Kemptown, who said the economic and social impact of the pandemic on young people needs “urgent investigation”.
“What we have found is that young people are in dire need of support at almost every juncture,” he added. “We note the government’s goodwill in providing some support, but it is not enough. We believe that our recommendations will work to significantly reduce the hardships faced by so many as they struggle to make ends meet and decide what the next step should be.”
The MPs recommended the £20-per-week universal credit increase should be maintained until the economy fully recovers and for targeted support to lift young people out of debt. But the APPG warned the potential for a “sluggish” job market after lockdown could easily mean people will be forced to rely on the benefit well beyond the pandemic.
Throughout the investigation, the politicians heard testimonies of young people struggling to make ends meet, and warned the government against assuming all employers had been topping up the pay packets of furloughed workers by 20 per cent to ensure they were paid full wages.