With inflation still higher than anticipated and an imminent interest rate hike, the social impact of the cost of living crisis will likely deepen, especially among young people. A new UK Youth survey among 16-25-year-olds highlights that the cost of living crisis is negatively affecting mental health and social well-being. Thousands of young people feel lonely because they cannot afford to socialise, and many struggle to find the money for food.
A new study into the impact of the cost of living crisis on young people has shown just how broad the associated challenges are for young adults. More than half of the participants reported mental health pressures, and more than three-quarters fear high living costs may hamper their current and future employment prospects. Only 4% of survey participants don’t worry at all.
The Censuswide polling has revealed the day-to-day struggles rising living costs are sparking. 45% of young adults said they had difficulty heating their homes, while 36% of the survey participants said they were experiencing loneliness because they could not afford to socialise. 20% told pollsters that they struggled with the cost of food.
When asked whether they felt the government was providing adequate support, the young adults and their parents expressed concern. Half of all young people said the government wasn’t doing enough, and nearly six out of ten parents agreed. Almost three-quarters of parents said easier access to youth work would be beneficial, with almost half of all young adult survey participants believing readily available youth work would improve their mental health.
A separate survey by UK Youth revealed that youth services had seen a significant increase in demand. 63% of your organisations reported a rise in the number of people seeking support. During the same period, more than two-thirds of youth service providers faced an acute increase in operating costs coupled with a 51%-drop in funding.
UK Youth Chief Executive, Ndidi Okezie OBE, said:
“These figures must be a wake-up call for our country – our young people are struggling in the face of the cost of living crisis, and they need help. Parents and carers are rightly concerned and are having to make difficult personal sacrifices to survive. Youth organisations, who provide essential support to young people, are also on their knees. The situation cannot be allowed to continue as it is.”
Inflation remains high as food prices continue to rise
The latest ONS figures show that inflation has slowed but not to the extent economists expected, remaining stubbornly above 10%. The Bank of England will likely raise interest rates further.
The reduction is due to a fall in fuel prices, but pressure on households remains as electricity, gas and food prices are still increasing. Consumers have to grapple with a 19.1% food and non-alcoholic beverage inflation, the highest since 1977.
It had been hoped that inflation would drop below 10%, allowing the Bank of England to keep interest rates at the current level of 4.25%. Following the publication of the latest figures, commentators now anticipate an increase to 4.5% in the short term and a rise to 5% by autumn of this year.
After the publication of the latest inflation figures, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said:
“These figures reaffirm exactly why we must continue with our efforts to drive down inflation so we can ease pressure on families and businesses.
“We are on track to do this – Office for Budget Responsibility forecasting we will halve inflation this year – and we’ll continue supporting people with cost-of-living support worth an average of £3,300 per household over this year and last, funded through windfall taxes on energy profits.”
Labour’s Rachel Reeves, Shadow Chancellor said:
“When will families feel better off under the Tories? Under them, our economy is weaker, prices are out of control and people are paying so much to get so little in return.”