Green Party calls for youth minister role in government

Adam Offord
Monday, September 26, 2016

The Green Party has called for the introduction of a dedicated minister for youth following a report that found young people in Britain are "a generation in crisis".

??Last week, a study by the Young Women's Trust found many young people are putting their lives on hold because of financial, housing and work problems, with young women worst affected.?

?The poll of 4,000 18- to 30-year-olds found that 43 per cent still live at home and a quarter have had to move back in with their parents because they cannot afford to live independently.?

It also revealed that three in 10 young people have been offered a zero hours contract and 20 per cent reported having been paid less than the minimum wage. ??

Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the Green Party, said that people in Britain are living through a "terrible age of insecurity" and it is no surprise that a whole generation of young people have been left in crisis.

?The report found that the psychological effect of pressures facing young people are also having an impact, with findings showing more than half of young people are worried about the future, 47 per cent are lacking in confidence, and one in three are worried about their mental health.

??"Across the country they [young people] are leaving university with crippling debt only to find they must take unacceptably low wages or unpaid internships to enter the job market - and that's if they can find work at all," Womack said.

"We're watching a whole generation suffer from the failure of government policy and we cannot stand by and let that happen.

??"We need to overhaul the system to ensure it respects young people, as well as secure a minister for youth to directly address these issues." ??

At present, Rob Wilson, minister for civil society, is responsible for youth policy at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).?

The portfolio sat under the Department for Education and was the responsibility of the Education Secretary until July 2013 before moving to the Cabinet Office. It was then moved to the DCMS along with Wilson earlier this year following the appointment of Prime Minister Theresa May.

Womack added: "We must scrap university tuition fees entirely to stop young people's early experiences in life being managing debt.

"Next we urgently need to create more, properly paid jobs. ??

"The government's National Living Wage for over-25s is not that at all, and instead the real Living Wage, based on what people need to survive, should be enforced for all people in all jobs."

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