14 March 2023
MPs from across parties including co-chairs Florence Eshalomi and Sir Bob Neill hear directly from young voices at the All Party Parliamentary Group for London.
On March 6th 2023, charity London Youth convened young people from its member community youth organisations and from its youth board, alongside young ambassadors from Partnership for Young London and the GLA. The aim was for the young people to share their lived experience of the cost-of-living crisis and debate policy asks with MPs, Peers, Deputy Mayor Joanne McCartney, and Bexley Councillor Cafer Munur from London Councils Cost of Living Group.
The event was a unique opportunity for cross-party policy makers to gain a deeper understanding of the issues facing young Londoners, aged from 17-24, in a cost-of-living emergency. It addressed the services they need, and how best they could engage in a productive dialogue on potential solutions.
Partnership for Young London research on Levelling Up has recently evidenced the cost of living crisis facing young people. To read their findings and the full report please click here.
Key takeaways from the young speakers were:
- The cost-of-living crisis has exposed what many young people consider ever greater social inequality as well as inter-generational unfairness: many of today’s young Londoners cannot afford what previous generations were able to, whether that is food, rent, transport or ordinary social and sporting activities. They look at the benefits that over 65s avail of – free transport in particular – and think, why are young people deserving of so much less?
- Young people want to co-design a pipeline of wellbeing policy solutions and pathways which are preventative. They want access to community-based, out of school, support, and access to trusted adults such as youth workers. They are asking: what can we can do collectively, as civil society partners, to achieve progress?
- No young person should be turned away because they are not “sick enough”. It is short-sighted to have a “one size fits all” approach to address very diverse and complex needs at different stages of a young person’s life. Failure by services to invest early enough in addressing these gaps reaps costly consequences in the longer term.
- This generation’s mental health has been blighted by interminable waiting lists, often eroding their future work and career opportunities, and consequently London’s future workforce.
- The lack of affordable housing risks a further hollowing out of London, leaving a much older demographic. How can we retain London’s rich diversity and talent if only 1 in 4 of young people who want to stay in London believe that they will be able to afford to? That is a serious economic and social challenge that policy makers urgently need to address.
The Co-chair of the APPG, Florence Eshalomi MP (Labour, Vauxhall) said:
“Young people are bearing the brunt of the cost of living crisis, and it’s vital we hear their voices in Parliament. For too long we’ve not seen housing, mental health and youth services get the support they need and our young people suffer as a result.
The introduction of the need for photo ID to vote risks further disenfranchising young people, particularly when elderly travel cards will be accepted as ID but their equivalents for young people will not. This feeds into the inter-generational unfairness that I know young people we’ve heard from feel today.”
Director of Engagement at London Youth, Pauline Daniyan, said:
“All too often, young people don’t get their rightful seat at the table. Their contributions should to be integral to the policy-making which shapes their future. Tonight’s APPG for London was a welcome platform for their voices to be heard on the cost of living crisis; it signals that their lived experiences matter, and that their voices count. We look forward to exploring other opportunities to pursue their cost of living priorities with London policymakers.”
Deputy Mayor for Children and Families, Joanne McCartney, said:
“With 95 per cent of young Londoners saying the cost-of-living crisis is impacting their lives, it’s vital that their views are put at the heart of policy making.
“We are doing all we can from City Hall to support young people and their families through the cost-of-living crisis. The Mayor is investing £80m to help those struggling with the rising cost of living and a further £130m to provide primary school children free school meals for the next academic year, as we build a fairer and more prosperous London for all.
“We continue to call on Government do more to ensure that young people are supported through this crisis – and that starts with listening to them.”