Young people being forced to abandon careers deserve a cost of living payment too, writes Patrick O’Donnell

Young people being forced to abandon careers deserve a cost of living payment too, writes Patrick O’Donnell

British public react to the UK falling into a recession

Patrick O'Donnell

By Patrick O'Donnell

Published: 20/02/2024

- 04:00

Updated: 21/02/2024

- 08:47

Many vulnerable groups are deserving of cost of living support but young people have been left out of these payments, writes Patrick O’Donnell

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is in the midst of paying the last of its cost of living payment to eligible households. Payments of £299 began to be distributed earlier this month and mark the final instalment in the larger £900 cost of living payment for people on means-tested benefits, such as Universal Credit and Jobseekers’ Allowance. Similar payments worth £300 and £150 have been given to pensioners and disabled people, respectively.

While these amounts have been vital lifelines for vulnerable demographics during the cost of living crisis, one group has been left out of much of the Government’s support packages in recent years. Young people.

In the last four years, a generation who studied, graduated and entered the workforce in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent financial crisis have had to get by with very little assistance.

Last year, research carried out by The Prince’s Trust found that two-thirds of 18 to 24 year olds in the UK are abandoning their career ambitions because of the UK’s economic problems.

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Woman looking worried

Younger generations have been left out of much of the cost of living support, writes Patrick O'Donnell


This is a generation that has been saddled with inflation-hiked prices, soaring energy bills and student loans that will likely never be paid off.

It’ll be a worrying development for a country if their youth isn’t encouraged to have ambition or entrepreneurship.

Instead of offering younger generations support, the Government has ostracised millennials and Gen Z who are not eligible for means-tested support, leaving them unable to get a support package which would relieve the financial pressures being levied on them.

The UK appears to have recovered from the worst of the cost of living crisis with inflation easing to four per cent. It peaked at 11 per cent in 2022. However, there are many financial obstacles in the way of young people.

Energy bills are likely to fluctuate for the foreseeable future amid changes to the price cap from Ofgem and ongoing global conflicts which could impact costs.

Furthermore, interest rates remain at a 15-year-high due to the Bank of England’s attempts to rein in inflation.

The cost of living will likely not return to pre-pandemic levels for the foreseeable future, particularly for young people. Despite the crisis being over, the ramifications of it will be the long-lasting.

Jeremy Hunt in pictures

The Government has rolled out cost of living payments for pensioners, benefit claimants and disabled people


In recognition of this, I think policymakers should take action. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak should not wait until a General Election to offer young people a cost of living payment akin to the ones awarded to pensioners and benefit claimants.

In theory, younger generations have been able to benefit from support packages, such as the £400 energy bills grant.

However, the lack of targeted support to those under 40 has led many to feel abandoned by those in power at a time when they needed it.

The Government should consider one last cost of living payment to the lost generation from the pandemic who could do with a leg-up.

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