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House of Lords Library

Equality of Opportunity and Quality of Life for Young People

Published Thursday, May 9, 2019

This House of Lords Library briefing has been prepared in advance of the debate on equality of opportunity and beneficial quality of life for young people which is due to take place in the House of Lords on 16 May 2019.

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On 16 May 2019, the House of Lords is due to debate a motion moved by Baroness Grender (Liberal Democrat) that “this House takes note of the need to deliver equality of opportunity and beneficial quality of life for young people”. In preparation for that debate, this briefing draws on two reports published in April that looked at equality of opportunity for young people, each from a different perspective.

The House of Lords Intergenerational Fairness and Provision Committee published a report on its inquiry into tackling intergenerational unfairness between older and younger generations. The committee observed that there is a “structural shift taking place, with younger generations not seeing the increase in living standards enjoyed by previous generations”. It said this was the result of “the failure of successive governments to plan for the future and prepare for social, economic and technological change”. The committee identified “disappointed expectations […] in housing and the workplace” as particular issues for younger generations. 

The Social Mobility Commission published its ‘state of the nation’ report on social mobility, which looked at the effects of inequality on the life chances of people within the same generation. The Social Mobility Commission stated that “inequality is now entrenched in Britain from birth to work, and the Government needs to take urgent action to help close the privilege gap”. It concluded that social mobility has been “stagnant” for the last four years, and “being born privileged still means you usually remain privileged”. It also found that “the dominance of background factors on future outcomes is further compounded when we look at the interaction with gender, ethnicity and disability”.

This briefing looks at some of the main thematic areas relevant to young people that emerge from these two reports: housing; further and higher education; and employment. For each theme, the briefing highlights key findings from the Intergenerational Fairness and Provision Committee and the Social Mobility Commission. Briefings from the Lords and Commons Libraries which provide more detailed information about government policy in these areas are suggested at the end of this briefing. This briefing also sets out data from the Office of National Statistics on measuring well-being and quality of life, looking at how the well-being of young people compares to that of other age groups.

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House of Lords Library

The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.