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Social Justice

Most Brits think today’s children will find life harder than their parents

Polling on behalf of Big Issue Group found most people think there is a skills gap in the UK and social mobility is stalling.

Most Brits think today’s children will find life harder than their parents’ generation, new Big Issue research has revealed.

Just one in eight think children will find life easier than their parents, with 64 per cent of over 65s admitting the struggle faced by younger generations.

Nearly four in five people think the UK is facing a skills gap as there are more job vacancies than unemployed people. However, people are still more likely to believe there are more job and training opportunities than there were 30 years ago.

The research, carried out by YouGov on behalf of the Big Issue, shows Brits’ attitudes on the state of opportunity in the country – and on how the government should support people.

Over 1,700 adults across the UK were surveyed in early June, just as Boris Johnson announced plans to let benefits claimants buy their homes, a scheme described as “baffling and unworkable” by experts.

The findings exposed a basic imbalance in the British economic system, and showed how job insecurity was harming opportunity, said Ellie Mae O’Hagan, director of the CLASS thinktank.

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“Most people can see the imbalance that exists in our economic system. While millions across the country are unable to afford the basic necessities, certain companies are posting record profits, so it’s no wonder that so many people support the prospect of  government intervention.”

With the cost of living threatening millions, the polling found that financial support is the most popular government solution, favoured by a third of respondents.

The next most popular options were creating skills and training programmes to get more people into work, and creating a jobs programme to get more people into work.

Most agree that the government should be doing more to support homeless people and people living in poverty – but do not think refugees or LGBTQ+ people need more help from the government in finding jobs.

There was general agreement across the board that today’s children would find it harder than their parents – but still some variation across people of different ages and political persuasions.

Those who voted Conservative in 2019 were more likely (17 per cent) to think today’s children will have it easier than their parents, compared to Labour voters (8 per cent).

Remain voters were more likely (70 per cent) to think today’s children will have it harder, compared to Leave voters (58 per cent).

The research was carried out as part of an announcement for Big Issue Group’s new five-year strategy, in which the organisation plans to help at least 11 million people a year to earn, learn and thrive through its work by 2027.

Respondents to the survey with different political views differed when it came to their beliefs on how much opportunity there is for young people, compared to 30 years ago.

Just over half (55 per cent) of 2019 Conservative voters said young people had more job opportunities, but only 31 per cent of Labour voters.

Responding to the polling, Ellie Mae O’Hagan, the director for the Centre of Labour and Social Studies (CLASS) said: “There may well be more job and training opportunities now compared to 30 years ago, but as we found in our report with Autonomy think tank earlier this year, these are overshadowed by the explosion of job insecurity across the economy.

“Most people can see the imbalance that exists in our economic system. While millions across the country are unable to afford the basic necessities, certain companies are posting record profits, so it’s no wonder that so many people support the prospect of  government intervention.

“What we urgently need is a real terms pay increase, a £15 minimum wage, and strengthened employment rights, to build an economic system which can provide for everyone in this country, not just the lucky few.”

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Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

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