Dramatic fall in confidence in MPs, finds Young Women’s Trust

Tuesday 4 September 2018

YWTHalf of young people say their confidence in politicians has got worse over the past year, says Young Women’s Trust on the day MPs return to parliament, as many report worsening finances, a struggle to make ends meet and feeling ignored by politicians. 

The charity, which supports young women on low or no pay, surveyed 4,000 young people with Populus Data Solutions and found that 50 per cent have less confidence in their representatives now than this time last year. This coincides with young people reporting that their finances and debt levels have got worse over the past year, alongside anxieties about Brexit. 

Disillusionment is highest in the north of England. In the North West, 58 per cent of young people feel ignored, followed by 57 per cent in the North East. In total, just one in ten young people says they feel listened to. 

The charity also polled 1,000 baby boomers, with two thirds of 54 to 72 year-olds (65 per cent) saying their confidence in politicians has got worse over the last 12 months. 

The fall in confidence among young people could be down to worries about Brexit and personal finances. When asked what, if anything, makes them feel anxious, young people’s most common reason was their financial situation (42 per cent), followed by the impact of Brexit (38 per cent) and not earning enough to live on (37 per cent). 

When asked about their views on a range of policies, the most popular among young people were raising the £3.70 apprentice minimum wage (83 per cent) and introducing equal pay by extending the National Living Wage to under 25s (80 per cent). 

There was also strong support for free trade with Europe (77 per cent), reintroducing university maintenance grants (75 per cent) and providing loans for those undertaking vocational training and not just for those going to university (73 per cent). Just over half of young people thought that zero hours contracts should be banned (52 per cent). 

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said: 

“Young people are saying they feel ignored by politicians. MPs need to step up, start listening to them and provide them with hope for the future. 

“As well as improving young people’s job opportunities and ending the discrimination that sees under-25s paid less than their older counterparts for the same work, Young Women’s Trust is calling for MPs to hold events with young women in their constituencies to listen to their views.”

Young Women’s Trust will be working with MPs to organise young women meet-ups, so that young women can share their views with decision-makers. 

ENDS 

Notes to editor: 

1) Young Women’s Trust is a charity supporting women aged 16-30 on low or no pay. The charity provides direct services to help young women into work and runs campaigns.

2) All figures unless otherwise stated are based on findings from a survey carried out for Young Women’s Trust by Populus Data Solutions. A representative sample of 4,010 18-30 year olds and 1,115 54-72 year olds in England and Wales, with panel services provided by Populus Live, were surveyed between 29 June-16 July 2018. The survey shows that:

a) 50 per cent of young people and 65 per cent of baby boomers say that their confidence in politicians has got worse in the last 12 months.

b) 54 per cent of young people feel ignored by politicians (56 per cent men, 52 per cent women). Among young people in the North West this rises to 58 per cent of young people and in the North East it is 57 per cent. The total number of young people who disagreed with the statement, and therefore do not feel ignored, is 10 per cent.

c) 28 per cent of young women and 21 per cent of young men said that their financial situation had got worse in the last 12 months.

d) Just 4 per cent of young people are currently debt free and 36 per cent don’t think they will ever be debt-free.

e) When asked what, if anything, makes them feel anxious, young people’s most common reason was their financial situation (42 per cent) followed by the impact of Brexit (38 per cent), and not earning enough to live on (37 per cent).

f)  When asked about their views on a range of policies, the most popular policies among young people were raising the apprenticeship minimum wage, which is currently £3.70 an hour (83 per cent), and introducing equal pay by extending the National Living Wage to under 25s (80 per cent). 77 per cent support free trade with Europe, 75 per cent want the reintroduction of university maintenance grants, 73 per cent think that there should be loans available for those undertaking vocational training and not just for those going to university and 52 per cent think zero-hours contracts should be banned.

For more information, regional breakdowns or to speak to a young woman who is affected, please contact Bex Bailey on 07963018281 or bex.bailey@youngwomenstrust.org.

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