20 October 2022
London Youth has been briefing key London policy makers on the crisis facing the youth sector and the urgent need for unrestricted open access funding.
Ahead of London Challenge Poverty week, organised by 4in10, London’s Child Poverty Network, we wrote to London MPs, councillors and other stakeholders participating in events this week. We cited the evidence and experiences shared by members who sit on our Policy Advisory Group.
All Party Parliamentary Group for London
One key event was the All Party Parliamentary Group of London MPs which met to discuss the cost of living crisis. Florence Eshalomi MP (Labour, Vauxhall) and Sir Bob Neill MP (Conservative, Bromley and Chiselhurst) chaired the session, with other MPs in attendance. London Youth joined, alongside a range of civil society organisations, councillors and charities who participated in the discussion. You can read the full note of the discussion here.
The speakers on the panel were:
Manny Hothi, Chief Executive, Trust for London
Cllr Georgia Gould, Chair of London Councils and Leader of the London Borough of Camden
Stephen Jones, Policy and Research Manager, London Chambers of Commerce
Summary of the most relevant remarks
- 1.5 million people across the UK have been pushed into poverty during this cost-of-living crisis.
- The ‘Mini Budget’ did help with those numbers – 180,000 fewer people would have been in poverty. However, this has since been reversed.
- Voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations in London are facing increased cost pressures themselves. Many of these organisations are supporting people specifically with food (rise in heating and eating) but as we move into winter, will also be needing to keep their doors open to those who need warmth.
- Funders will need to give out more money to make sure they meet higher costs.
- Government needs to increase benefits by inflation and not wages, and– Benefits need to be increased by inflation and not wages. Targeted support is required for most vulnerable. Those on energy meters should have a lower price cap.
Cllr Georgia Gould
- The cost-of-living crisis comes on top of a previous crisis – the pandemic. Those who were previously donating to food banks are now having to use food banks. Some children are having one meal a day.
- In London, there’s been an average 15 per cent rise in private rents. Only 8.8% of properties listed for rent in London in 2021/22 were affordable on Local Housing Allowance dropping to 1.3% in central London. There are as many homeless Londoners as the entire population of Oxford.
- Councils are investing in council tax support schemes. Councils are also investing in local advice services and signposting to existing support. They are supporting people through mutual aid networks as happened during the pandemic, where councils worked alongside communities.
- Camden has a £2 million Cost of Living Crisis Fund that residents can apply to. 90% of applications are for food. They are also creating warm welcome spaces across the borough.
- People across the sector are exhausted and struggling to deliver for the extent of need . Councils are also seeing enormous pressures on their funds and services. Anything that’s easy to reduce has already happened.
- Councils are also investing in local advice services and signposting to existing support. They are supporting people through mutual aid networks as happened during the pandemic, where councils worked alongside communities.
- London boroughs were working with the GLA on a ‘no wrong door’ approach – advice for young people available no matter where they go to for help.
The impact on London’s youth sector
Florence Eshalomi MP acknowledged the points raised by London Youth about the closure of youth clubs and the pressures on youth workers, needing to access resources for young people. We will continue to press the case for the voice of the sector to be heard directly by policy makers, and the urgency of more unrestricted open access funding.
On Monday 7th November, Partnership for Young London, and London Youth will join London Councils, GLA, DCMS, Local Youth Partnership and other London stakeholders to explore what a local youth offer could look like for London. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like further details on this event, or our Policy Advisory Group.