Last week saw Chancellor George Osborne release the pre-election budget for 2015. The budget is not the easiest thing to decipher, but in between the jargon there are a few changes in the budget that are likely to affect young people.
Recent budgets have mainly promoted cuts to voluntary youth services and many of the cuts have seen negative impacts on young people and families. The question is, will this budget bring positive or negative news for young people?
Firstly, the biggest effect the budget will have on young people is in line with the pre-publicised plans to increase mental health services, which has been confirmed with an investment of £1.25 billion. Mental health related issues in young people are on the rise, so this investment is necessary to support the increasing numbers of young people affected. The investment is targeted at improving access of treatment, training within child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and improving school access to mental health services. In addition to this, £118 million has been set aside for the expansion of the children and young people’s access to Psychological Therapies programme.
The second change affects those seeking higher education as more and more young people are looking for alternative routes to university. This has led to apprenticeships becoming an increasingly popular option for school leavers. The budget welcomes an increase in apprentice minimum wage of 20%, a real wage increase which is likely to make apprenticeships a more viable option for more young people.
For those young people who still pursue the university route, and are looking at postgrad studies, the budget supports a proposal for loans to support PHDs and research based Masters Degrees. This is a welcome change to the current situation where typically only young people from wealthy families can afford to partake in postgrad courses.
These all promote positive changes for young people. However are these changes really enough? I’m a young person and these changes are unlikely to affect me in any way. They are all targeted at specific audiences, which leaves many young people unaffected. For those young people in the affected audiences its good news but for most it’s no news at all.
– Emily Vasey, Peer Support Worker