Are young people being short-changed?

Earlier this year, I learned that more than a million Londoners are in serious debt.

Incomes in London are unpredictable and many people can’t relay on a steady job as wages continue to drop and zero-hours contracts continue to rise, ‘putting something aside’ has become increasingly difficult or completely impossible. More and more Londoners are using pay-day loans and high-cost credit providers as a source of financial support.

As Chair of the Economy Committee I looked at Londoners’ financial health, investigating whether there is good quality, inclusive financial services that is easy to access, and whether in the current climate there is financial resilience to cope with an increasingly unpredictable economy.

In January, I published Short changed: the financial health of Londoners which drew on the experience and insight from a wide range of Londoners including small businesses, academics, professionals working in finance, charities and organisations helping improve people’s financial health.

Guests invited to the committee spoke about the challenges that many people face and shared with us the programmes and tech solutions they are involved with trying to improve Londoners’ financial health.

In addition to other key findings, the investigation found that:

• 44% of people in the UK, who are in financial difficulty are between the ages of 18 and 34
• Around a quarter (27%) of 18-30 year-olds in London say they are in debt all the time
• A third of all users of high-cost loans are 18-34 year-olds

More than a quarter of young people are in debt and are exposed to economic uncertainty, financial insecurity and consequentially have poor financial health.

So, at the Mayor’s Question Time in May, I urged the Mayor to recognise the important role he could play in bringing together partners to explore new ideas and innovations that would help improve the financial health and well-being of Londoners and in particular young people.

In response, the Mayor said that he would host a summit this autumn to support the financial health of young people, and his office would stay in touch with me so I could forward any recommendations of people or organisations that should attend.

I met with someone from the Mayor’s team and shared a list of organisations and people who specialise in improving financial health of young people, such as MyBNK and Capital Moments.

So, if you belong to an organisation that you believe should be invited to in this event then please email me and I will forward your details to the Mayor’s team so your voice can be heard.