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New report shows young Scots in 'despair' over lack of jobs

Citizens Advice Scotland have responded to new figures showing that young people in Scotland are in ‘despair’ over the economic downturn.

A new survey published today by the youth organisation FutureYou reports on the problems of young ‘NEETs’ (those who are not in Employment, Education or Training). Its Scottish breakdown includes the findings that:

  • 64% of Scottish NEETs ‘feel bad about themselves,’
  • 32% feel their ‘life is being wasted,’
  • 28% had even considered suicide (this is higher than the UK average figure of 25%).

Responding to the report, CAS Chief Executive Lucy McTernan said,

“This survey backs up the evidence that Scotland’s CABs have been reporting for some time. There is no doubt that young Scots are being hit hard by the recession, and many of them are responding with a mixture of anger and despair.

“Sadly there is nothing new in the fact that many young people are unemployed. But the impact this is having on them is much greater than is generally realised. We at CAS undertook our own survey a few months ago, asking young Scots what they thought of their economic future. Some of the comments we received back from them were deeply shocking. (see examples below) and fore-shadowed the findings of this report today.

“Its not just unemployment itself that affects young people. Those who turn to the benefits system for help find that it actively discriminates against them, purely on grounds of age and for no obvious practical reason. Those under 25 will get 20% less in Jobseekers Allowance than those over 25. Similarly, young people who apply for Housing Benefit will find that they are entitled to less housing support than those over 25. With their access to affordable housing limited, many are getting into debt, and others are living at home for longer, delaying their transition to adulthood and independence.

“The economic problems faced by young people impact on their health, and will continue to affect it as they grow older. In particular, their mental health can be severely affected. Many of the young people who replied to our survey admitted to being depressed and lacking in hope for the future (see quotes below).

“These sorts of economic problems affect all groups in society, not just the young. But the evidence of our report, echoed by this report from FutureYou today, shows that young people are being hit particuarly hard. And this will dictate the future - not just of this generation but of the country as a whole.”