Wales 'among worst' places to live for young people

By Steffan Messenger
BBC News

media captionThe generation gap between young and old people in Wales is "really stark", a think tank says

Wales is one of the worst places in the UK to live for younger people, an independent think tank has claimed.

Ahead of May's general election, the Intergenerational Foundation (IF) is calling on politicians to do more to gear policies around young people.

It says the contrast between how the older and younger generations are faring in Wales is "really stark".

The Welsh government said it was taking action to support young people.

IF co-founder Angus Hanton said: "Wales is worse off - partly because of higher youth unemployment - but also because it has many rural communities. It's very much harder for young people to get to the work."

'Minimum wage'

In Wales, 19.7% of 18 to 24 year olds are not in employment, education or training (NEETs) compared with a UK average of 17.3%, according to IF research.

Mr Hanton said: "Essentially what governments need to do is say we'll give more benefits and help for younger people and we'll pay for that by taking away from wealthier older people who don't need the benefits being offered."

The charity said that despite the average house price in Wales being about £60,000 cheaper than elsewhere in the UK, home ownership is still inaccessible to the vast majority of young people, "many of whom are working on the minimum wage".

image captionMegan Davies said the next government should promote help for young people to get on training courses and buy homes

Megan Davies lives at home with her parents in Cardiff after graduating from university so she can save money.

She said: "There's a lot of pressure after leaving university - I've been fortunate to be able to get a job, but not everybody is as fortunate as me."

A Welsh government spokesman said: "We are committed to continuing to take action in supporting our young people through their education and into the workforce.

"We have protected schools funding, and for university students we provide the most generous maintenance grant support of all UK countries.

"Our flagship employment programme, Jobs Growth Wales, has given opportunities to thousands of young people to find high-quality work."


Jodie Lunnon said she struggled to find work after graduating from university.

"I spent eight months searching endlessly for a job and nothing came of it - I had hundreds of rejections."

IF said the gap in prospects for young and old is also particularly pronounced in the north east of England and in Yorkshire/Humberside.

At the 2010 general election, only 55% of 25-34 year olds and 44% of 18-24 year olds voted but IF said an increase in voting levels by 10% could unseat 83 MPs.

The UK government said it was not for it to comment on the IF's research.

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