The relentless assault upon the young - part 2
According to YouGov, 75% of young people in the UK voted for the country to remain in the EU. If you are aged anywhere between 16 and 29, it is hard not to feel resentful towards an older generation that has voted in much larger numbers to leave, for this decision is not an isolated incident. The interests of the young have been largely ignored by a government that relies on the over 65s to keep it dominant. In multiple areas , drawbridges towards social mobility have been raised, from increasing tuition fees to a complete failure to meet housing needs. Small wonder 16-17 year olds are barred from voting, lest they reject an establishment that stymies their aspirations.
My 5 year old, should he wish to go to university, will be anywhere between £50-100,000 in debt and will have little chance of owning his own home in his 20s or even 30s. Some of these "assaults" were picked up in an article I wrote this time last year. If anything, the attack has increased in its ferociousness. Austerity never touched the pensions of the over 65s, even though these benefits accounted for 42% of the UK welfare budget in 2014-15. Meanwhile, unemployment benefit, an entitlement far more important to younger employees without job security, came in for brutal treatment by Tory ministers, even though it accounts for just 3% of welfare spending.
Now the well-respected Institute for Fiscal Studies has confirmed the scale of the problem:
"One great success is that pensioner incomes have grown so much and, after housing costs, they are now the least likely major demographic group to be in income poverty... but for adults aged 31 to 59 it is at its pre-crisis level and for those aged 22 to 30 it is still 7% lower. It is highly unusual to see no growth in working-age incomes over a seven-year period."
There are many ways to reverse the trend towards generational theft. First and foremost, austerity must end. Tuition fees ought to be abolished. Wealth taxes need to be in line with income taxes. Education spending must increase well beyond inflation, the living wage must be more than a name, and rent control and house building must start immediately.
Sixteen and seventeen year-olds must be allowed to vote, for they seem to know what they are doing far more than the reckless over 65s. Would a minister dare close a youth centre if it meant losing their job?