Wasted Youth

‘When we talk about rising debt levels, it is young people in their 20s and 30s who are bearing the brunt… Instead of saving for the future, they are being dragged into debt just to meet the costs of living.’


It’s no secret that we’re a nation of spenders, regardless of economic realities. In November 2015, debt-fuelled Christmas spending rose to 1.5bn – its highest level in eight years. Serious debt has long been highlighted by the Centre for Social Justice as one of the five pathways to poverty and a crucial government focus. But the recent Demos report into the impact of debt on British homes revealed that debt is increasingly a young person’s burden, with over three times as many young people than pensioners bearing the brunt of increasing debt to cover rent, ‘the basics’ and ‘unexpected expenses’. Young people are also increasingly bearing the brunt of our pensioners – compounding the problem and clipping the wings, directly and indirectly, of our next generation of innovators and business people.


Last month’s budget included the Help To Save scheme to encourage the lowest paid workers to build up a rainy day fund – an essential first step to breaking the cycle of payday loan dependency and financial insecurity that blights so many lives and limits so much potential. This is an excellent step which responds to the specific needs of low income households with evidence-led policy.


  • Read more about the five pathways to poverty and what can be done to tackle them in the Centre for Social Justice’s seminal report Breakthrough Britain.

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