My ministerial colleagues and I recognise that young people can be particularly impacted by the cost of living.
I am aware that many young people who are beginning their careers may not have had time to build up a financial safety net. For this reason, I welcome that from 1 April 2024, the National Living Wage will increase by 9.8 per cent to £11.44, with the age threshold lowered from 23 to 21 years old. This represents an increase of over £1,800 to the annual earnings of a full-time worker on the NLW and is expected to benefit over 2.7 million low-paid workers.
Additionally, while youth unemployment is down by 43.8 per cent since 2010, I welcome that the Government continues to take action to support younger people start, stay and succeed in work. Alongside broader reforms that will change the way claimants interact with our welfare system, the Government’s Youth Offer provides skills training, work experience, Sector-Based Work Academy Programmes, and mentoring circles.
Moreover, to create more opportunities those still in education, the Government has committed to a National Youth Guarantee. Backed by a £560 million investment, the guarantee will ensure that by 2025, everyone will have access to regular clubs and activities, adventures away from home, and volunteering opportunities. This includes all 11 to 18-year-olds, and those up to 25 years old with special educational needs and disabilities. I understand that £100 million has already been allocated, with construction of refurbishments underway.