We live in hell
It’s a particularly grim time to be a young person in the UK: the pandemic has disproportionately affected Gen Z’s social and economic prospects and stolen formative and unrepeatable experiences from them. Now, a new study by the Prince’s Trust has illustrated just how dire the situation is for young people: happiness and confidence among 16- to 25-year-olds has hit a 13-year low, meaning that the last time things were this bleak was in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
According to the study, 40 per cent of young people now report being anxious about socialising with people, one-third say they don’t know how to make new friends, and 35 per cent say they’ve never felt more alone. Worryingly, almost a quarter of all young people (23 per cent) in the UK say they will “never recover” from the emotional impact of the pandemic.
Many also reported feeling concerned about their personal finances: one in three (33 per cent) state they are unhappy with the amount of money they have and 47 per cent say they never have enough money at the end of month for savings after shelling out for bills.
For those who are not in employment, education or training (NEET), 23 per cent say that they “always feel anxious”. 46 per cent said that being unemployed made them feel hopeless, while 34 per cent said they felt they will fail in life. All in all, things are Not Good.
Jonathan Townsend, UK Chief Executive, The Prince’s Trust said: “The pandemic will be a scar for life on young people in the UK, unless we act now. This alarming downward spiral of anxiety, stress and lack of confidence for the future will impact young people today and in future generations, while widening the gap for the most disadvantaged.”
“With the right support from businesses, government and charities we can turn this around and ensure young people have the right skills and confidence to feel positive about their future work, and about their life overall.”
Historically the Tories haven’t offered “the right support” to young people, so it’s unlikely that they’ll start to care now. But in spite of this, there is reason to be optimistic. Some young people are channelling this frustration into action: the successes of young activists and campaigners such as Marcus Rashford, Kwajo Tweneboa, and Mikaela Loach plainly show that the UK’s next generation aren’t afraid of taking matters into their own hands and striving for a better future. There’s no hope for the Tories; but there’s hope for Gen Z.