One in 10 young parents has used a foodbank, finds Young Women’s Trust

Thursday 20 December 2018

YWT logoOne 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.” 


Notes to editor: 

  1. Young Women’s Trust supports and represents women aged 16-30 in England and Wales trapped by low or no pay and facing a life of poverty. The charity provides services and runs campaigns to make sure that the talents of young women don't go to waste.
  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 1,105 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 of 18-30-year olds shows that: 
    1. 10 per cent of young parents have used a foodbank because couldn’t afford food;
    2. 18 per cent with school children aged 11 to 15 have used a foodbank because couldn’t afford food;
    3. 16 per cent of parents skip meals to make ends meet;
    4. young parents are far more likely to pawn or sell items to make their cash last; 13 per cent do this compared to the national average of eight per cent;
    5. 28 per cent of young parents expect to get into debt this Christmas (29 per cent of mums and 26 per cent of dads); 
    6. 16 per cent of all young people expect to get into debt this Christmas (18 per cent of young women and 15 per cent of young men); 
    7. more young people expect to be in debt by the age of 40 than not; 36 per cent (or more than a third) think they will still be in debt by the time they’re 40, 34 per cent expect to be debt free by the age of 40 and 4 per cent already are debt free; 
    8. 26 per cent say their levels of debt have got worse over the past year; 
    9. 34 per cent struggle to make their cash last to the end of the month (40 per cent of young women, or two in five, and 29 per cent of young men, or nearly a third); and
    10. 24 per cent say their financial situation has got worse over the past year.
  3. When young people were asked how they make their cash last to the end of the month: 
    1. 19 per cent borrow money from family (22 per cent of young women and 15 per cent of young men); 
    2. 18 per cent go into their overdraft (21 per cent of young women and 16 per cent of young men); 
    3. 16 per cent work additional hours (17 per cent of young women and 14 per cent of young men); 
    4. 13 per cent rely on a credit card (15 per cent of young women and 11 per cent of young men); and 
    5. eight per cent sell belongings (10 per cent of young women and six per cent of young men. 
  4. For more information, regional breakdowns or to speak to a young woman who is affected, please contact Bex Bailey on 07963018281 or