One in 10 parents under 30 in the UK has used a foodbank and one in six skips meals because they cannot afford food, according to research by Young Women’s Trust, a charity that helps young women on low or no pay. The figure rises to one in five among those with children in secondary school.
A Populus Data Solutions survey of more than 4,000 people aged 18 to 30 for the charity shows that money is tight. Two in five young women say it is a “real struggle” to make their cash last to the end of the month. One in four admits they are in debt “all of the time”. Often, the barriers mothers face in finding work can put an even greater strain on their budget. This is made worse by the fact that those under the age of 25 receive less financial support from the Government than older people in their position.
Mums who are in work often struggle too as they are more likely to be on low pay. Not only are under-25s not entitled to the Government’s national living wage, which is even less than the real Living Wage, but they are more likely to be in low-paid sectors. The charity’s research shows that the jobs on offer through the Government’s ‘Youth Obligation’ scheme, which aims to provide work or training placements for those who are unemployed, are often in sectors like care or hospitality that pay less.
Young Women’s Trust communications and campaigns director Joe Levenson said of the findings:“Parents want to give their children the best but are facing huge financial challenges, especially over this Christmas period. A shocking number are having to skip meals or turn to food banks in order to feed their children, and many are getting into debt.
“They are telling us they want to be financially independent but a combination of low pay and high childcare costs prevents that. It doesn’t help that young people are entitled to less financial support and lower wages for no other reason than their age.
“This Christmas, the Government needs to step up to stop people going hungry. This means ensuring everyone who wants to work gets the right skills and support to find jobs, encouraging flexible working for parents and carers and paying a proper living wage that doesn’t discriminate against age. This would benefit businesses and the economy too.”