This briefing looks at how the coronavirus outbreak impacted young people. The briefing is published jointly with UK Women's Budget Group, Engender and Close the Gap (Scotland), Women’s Equality Network Wales, and Northern Ireland Women’s Budget Group. 

This research was funded by Standard Life Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. 

Read the research briefing here.  

It sets out the experiences of young people during 2021. It comprises analysis of data from a survey of 1,026 adults in the UK aged 18 to 30 conducted in early June. 

Key findings include: 

  • Around two thirds of young people support investment in a range of areas, including the benefit system, childcare, social care, green initiatives and housing. Public investment in these areas is likely to disproportionately benefit women and contribute to furthering gender equality, but nonetheless young women and men are equally supportive.  
  • Importantly for the Government’s ‘Build Back Better’ plan, young Conservative voters are like their peers who support other parties in wanting to see the Government invest in building a more equitable and sustainable future. 
  • 69% of young Conservative voters want to see early education better funded in order to increase the supply of affordable childcare, as do 73% of Labour voters
  • 65% of young Conservative voters want money spent on social care for older people and disabled people so that it can be free (like the NHS), as do 75% of Labour voters  
  • 62% of Conservative voters support investment in green initiatives towards a zero-carbon economy (67% of Labour voters)  

  • 73% of young Conservative voters support investment in affordable housing and security for renters (77% of Labour voters)  
  • The overwhelming support from young people for the Government to invest in social infrastructure comes after a substantial proportion of young people expressed concern about the security of their job when the furlough scheme ends in September and their future prospects.  In terms of impacts on their own lives, young women were more likely than young men to report that their situation had either worsened as a result of the pandemic, or is expected to get worse over the next 12 months.

  • More than 1 in 2 young women (54%) said their mental health had got worse (compared to 42% of young men) 

  • Young women (16%) were twice as likely as young men (8%) to say their financial situation had a got ‘a lot worse'

  • 30% of young women are worried their hours will be reduced when the furlough scheme ends in September, and 26% are worried they will lose their job.  

  • Half (51%) of young people are concerned that if they do lose their job, benefits will not cover their essential costs.   

This new research with young people shows that they want ‘building back better’, ‘levelling up’ and adopting a ‘fair’ approach to be more than just rhetoric. Young people want the government to invest in building a more secure, just and sustainable future. They understand that this will require investment in the benefits system, essential public services such as social care and childcare, green initiatives and in affordable housing. Young people don’t want to go back to life as it was before the pandemic; they want a better tomorrow.     


Published on 26th August 2021.