Young carers in Southwark getting ‘raw deal’

Southwark has one of the highest numbers of young people providing unpaid care in the capital with over 2,373 regularly supporting family members, friends and neighbours.

A new report shows that as many as one in nine carers in the borough are under 25 years of age, representing over 11 per cent of all those providing unpaid care in Southwark.

The surprising statistics have led a leading union official to claim that affluent Britain is giving a whole generation of young workers ‘‘a bum deal’’ and that

young people were being ‘‘shafted right, left and centre’’ by the government.

Social solidarity

Southwark is just behind Tower Hamlets which with 3,362 has the highest number of young people providing voluntary support.

Data from the office of National Statistics compiled in a report published by the GMB Young Members Conference last Saturday showed that 71,958 young people provide unpaid care every week in London.

Paul Hayes, GMB Regional Secretary, said the report showed the extent to which London relies upon young people to provide unpaid care, describing them as an essential part of the ‘glue’ that maintains social solidarity across the generations.

He said: “This cuts across the picture that we have of today’s young people and the extent to which we rely on them. Unfortunately it is this very generation that for six years has borne the brunt of the recession now underway.

‘‘As well as not being able to find jobs, young people have been shafted right, left and centre by the government.

“They were denied education maintenance grants, they faced a tripling of tuition fees, rising house prices and a lack of affordable housing, and where they have been able to find work they face low wages and zero hour contracts.

‘‘This all has an adverse impact on the health, future employment opportunities and the social and leisure activities of those young carers providing unpaid care.

‘‘What a bum deal affluent Britain has offered this generation of young workers.”