4 March 2021
Yesterday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer presented his Budget which aims to support people and businesses through the pandemic, whilst also touching on longer term government aspirations and getting the public finances onto a sounder footing.
Our reaction to the Budget
We welcome the extension of measures directly addressing the ongoing economic crisis, which has disproportionately impacted young people. However, we are deeply disappointed that yesterday’s speech did not take the opportunity to speak directly to young people, to acknowledge the challenges they continue to battle and to commit to ensure that the youth services they depend on will be supported now and into the future.
There was no mention of the promised Youth Investment Fund; this is concerning as this investment is needed more than ever to deal with the financial strain the pandemic has placed on youth organisations who were already suffering from a decade of cuts.
Last week, we published a report on the impact of covid-19 on youth organisations which highlighted a stark picture for the youth sector, with nearly two thirds of the 1,759 organisations who took part saying they are at risk of closure in the next 12 months despite the majority of organisations reporting an increase in demand for their services. In January, we along with other charities called for an emergency support package to address the funding gaps that the sector as part of the #NeverMoreNeeded campaign. It is disappointing that the budget did not include new funding to deal with this ongoing need. It is also disappointing that charities were not included in the Help to Grow programme, which would have supported with investment in digital software and the upskilling of staff.
Young people deserve access to quality, well-resourced youth services that can provide them with a safe place and trusted relationships to allow them to emerge from this crisis in a positive way and help support their communities to recover.
Ndidi Okezie, UK Youth CEO, says, ‘Young people have been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, a fact that the Chancellor has acknowledged before; with high levels of unemployment, an increase in poor mental health, and increased vulnerability to negative activities. Acknowledging the challenges young people face is important, but recognising how long this pandemic has lasted, it is now time for tangible actions of support to reach more young people. We cannot afford to let young people fall through the net because vital services were allowed to disappear.’
Our call to action!
The Chancellor repeated yesterday that he will “do whatever it takes” to support people through the pandemic, we continue to urge government to listen to young people and the youth sector and invest now in the diversity of services that are vital to ensure young people can recover and thrive.
Notes of measures announced in the budget that impact young people
Arts and sports