The Prince’s Trust NatWest Youth Index 2023 which was release lately finds that over half (56 per cent) of young people in the South West think the cost of living will have a worse impact on their life than the pandemic.

The report reveals the overall wellbeing of 16–25-year-olds in the UK has flatlined, remaining at the lowest point in its fourteen-year history, with young people least happy and confident in their money and mental health.

Report finds cost of living crisis and coming recession are young people’s biggest worries, as 51 per cent in the South West report economic uncertainty makes them feel hopeless about the future.

It shows that in the South West the cost of living crisis (60 per cent), climate change (33 per cent) and the coming recession (28 per cent) are young people’s biggest worries for the future, and also demonstrates how these concerns impact young people’s life goals and career aspirations.

Fifty-one per cent state that economic uncertainty makes them feel hopeless about the future. In the South West, 62 per cent of young people always or often feel stressed and 55 per cent report ever experiencing a mental health problem.

The Youth Index is based on YouGov research with 2,025 16- to 25-year-olds across the UK, gauging young people’s confidence and happiness across a range of areas.

Karl Culleton, head of service delivery for the South West at The Prince’s Trust said: Having already lived through one of the most turbulent times to be young, this year’s Prince’s Trust NatWest Youth Index is a warning sign that, post pandemic, in the South West young people’s wellbeing has not recovered."

“Most concerningly, the report also suggests that these challenges are hitting young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds hardest, with those who received free school meals or who are unemployed reporting consistently worse wellbeing in all aspects of life.”

However, over half (51 per cent) of young people in the South West are worried about the impact of a recession on their job security and a similar number (52 per cent) worry they will never earn enough to support a family.

Alison Rose DBE, Chief Executive of NatWest Group said: “Young people’s confidence and happiness with money is now lower than during the Global Financial Crisis – which is something that should concern us all.

“This report provides a stark warning about the debilitating impact of economic pressures on young people's lives, and emphasises the importance of providing the tools and support necessary to build their financial capability and confidence."

"As a bank, we are resolute in supporting young people to fulfil their potential, and will continue to work closely with the Prince’s Trust to ensure no one is left behind as they navigate the challenges ahead.” 

Karl Culleton added: “The findings show us that young people remain determined to achieve their goals in life, but that they require practical support to do so. Employers, government, charities and individuals must work together to provide a lifeline for those who need us most.” 

The Prince’s Trust helps thousands of young people in the South West each year to build the confidence and skills they need to realise their potential. Three in four young people on Prince’s Trust programmes move into work, education or training. 

Its ‘Class of Covid’ campaign highlights the urgent need to support young people to regain their confidence and build their skills for the future. Search ‘Class of Covid’ or visit here to find out more. 

NatWest have worked in partnership with The Prince’s Trust for over 20 years, helping thousands of young people to start their own businesses, develop skills for employment and supported hundreds of staff to volunteer with young people across the UK.

Charlie Hemings, 17, from Bath ended up leaving school after his mental health went downhill during sixth form. He came to The Prince’s Trust to regain his motivation.

“Sixth form was a really tough time for me in terms of my mental health and I ended up leaving school, which was a lot to process. I spent the next couple of months sitting at home wondering what to do next when someone suggested The Prince’s Trust to me."

Speaking about the cost of livin crisis he added : “The pandemic and years since have definitely made me feel more worried about my future - about whether I’ll be able to get a house and find a permanent job."

Sixty-nine per cent of young people in the South West report financial security as their biggest goal in life, followed by good mental health (43 per cent) and having a family (40 per cent).