Autumn Statement: an opportunity for social mobility?

22 Nov 2016

Chancellor Philip Hammond will deliver his Autumn Statement tomorrow. What can we expect for young people?

Philip Hammond has pledged to support people “who work hard and by and large do not feel that they are sharing in the prosperity that economic growth is bringing to the country”.

But the backdrop is not looking positive for spending. The Office for Budget Responsibility is forecasting both a slowing of the economy and a real challenge to public finances as the UK heads for Brexit.

With a freeze on jobseeker’s allowance and income support for four years from April 2016 already in effect, the impact of this will be felt even more severely with a reduction in economic growth.

Changes to National Insurance have been mentioned – raising the level at which it is payable from the current threshold of £8,060. This would help those on low incomes -including many young people.

What else?

At NYA we’d like to see spending around the theme the Prime Minister has repeatedly returned to – social mobility.

With last week’s State of the Nation report from the Social Mobility Commission finding alarming divisions in society, there is a golden opportunity for the Chancellor to take some action to tackle these inequalities for young people.

Introducing geographically targeted spending to support young people to transition successfully from school to training or job would be a step forward and a recognition of the lack of provision currently.

Paul Miller, NYA CEO said, “Equipping disadvantaged young people with the support to move successfully from education to employment clearly takes on a greater urgency. At NYA we are developing programmes which utilise the skills of experienced youth workers to help young people into and to remain in apprenticeships.  Such support systems need to be a priority for investment if disadvantaged young people are to benefit from these opportunities.”