The Government should radically transform its policies across housing, transport and education in order to secure the future health of today’s young people, a health charity has said.
A new study from The Health Foundation into the future of young people has called for a ‘whole Government approach’ to ensure that young people are able to access the things necessary to lead a healthy life.
The result of a two-year inquiry, A healthy foundation for the future concluded that a fragmented approach to spending and investment in young people across multiple Government departments has had a negative impact.
It also identified the housing market as a problem the Government needed to address because more young people are living longer in poor quality, shorter term rental properties and priced out of long-term homes.
A job market where young people struggle for secure, rewarding work is also putting the UK’s 12- to 24-year-olds at serious risk of ill health later in life, according to the charity.
The report calls for a Government review of the impact of the exam system and the ‘teach to test’ culture on the mental health of young people and ‘significant reforms’ of the private rental sector.
It also called for an end to the postcode lottery in access to discounted and free transport for students and young people seeking employment.
'Most people wouldn’t automatically think that housing, transport and education policies have much to do with people’s health. However, our inquiry has shown that getting these – and other areas of Government policy – right for young people sets them on course for a healthy future,’ said Jo Bibby, director of Health at the Health Foundation.
‘This is why we are recommending changes to ensure young people have somewhere to call home, rewarding work and supportive relationships with friends, families and communities.
'It is apparent that the arbitrary division of responsibilities between different sectors is letting young people down and jeopardising their long-term health. We must address these divisions and ensure there is a whole Government approach to drive us towards a healthy future.'