Rise in young people living in hardship

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Councillor Nick Small © Liverpool City Council

Councillor Nick Small urges young people to work © Liverpool City Council

Around 25% of young people in Liverpool are unemployed, according to one city councillor, as new figures in a report from the New Policy Institute show a rise nationally.

The report revealed that many 16 to 24-year-olds are living in poverty across the UK. The numbers have risen by 6% in the last decade, with 32% of 16 to 19-year-olds and 29% of 20 to 24-year-olds scraping to make ends meet across the country.

The statistics have shown that more under 25s are likely to be living in poverty than pensioners, with over 65s – once the highest demographic – now having the lowest rate of poverty of any age group.

The report also found a huge rise in part-time jobs, low-paid self-employment and zero-hour contracts, now at 1.4 million.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), a British charity, believes that zero-hour contracts, high rents and falling pay are to blame.

Nick Small, Cabinet Member for Employment and Skills told JMU Journalism the problem is a result of “the economy not going as well as it could be” and it’s “beginning to have an effect on young people”.

Councillor Small said: “Yes, it is a problem in Liverpool, but a lot of interventions that we’ve got at the moment are making a difference.”

He urges teens and young adults to try their best to find employment. He said: “My advice would be to get into work and the employment market. I think the longer that you’re out of the labour market, the more difficult it is to get back in [and gain] the employability skills.

“All of us have got to continually reinvent our skills. You’re never too late to [acquire] new skills.”

Tom MacInnes, Research Director at NPI, said: “This report highlights some good news on employment – but earnings and incomes are still lower than five years ago, and most people who moved from unemployment into work can only find a low paid job.

“Government has focussed its efforts on welfare reform, but tackling poverty needs a wider scope, covering the job market, the costs and security of housing and the quality of services provided to people on low incomes.”

About Bradd Chambers, JMU Journalism