- July 17, 2015
- Posted by: Carwyn Jones AM
- Category: The Gem
There was a time in Britain when the Government in London took the view that it had a duty to help young people. If you were part of the generations that grew up between the early 1950s and mid 1980s ( including myself) then you benefitted from that.
Houses were being built and mortgages relatively easy to get. In the 1970s especially, if your income kept pace with inflation then your mortgage payments plummeted every year as a percentage of your income. If you couldn’t buy a house there was plenty of council stock around to rent.
There were jobs and apprenticeships. There were good work pensions available and you could retire with a pension based on your final salary or wage, not on what your average income was over the course of your employment. You could also retire in your 50s. If you couldn’t get a job you were helped. If you went to university you could get a good grant, and you didn’t pay fees. You could claim housing benefit and you got benefits out of term. I was fortunate to catch the tail end of that.
Now the situation has changed. We know that young people have done the worst since 2010 while those over 60 have done the best. If you’re under 25 and in work you won’t get the living wage. You won’t get housing benefit if you’re under 21. If you have a job then you won’t have a generous pension or even a pension at all. You’ll work until you’re 70. You’ll find it difficult to find somewhere to rent and you’ll find it very difficult to get a mortgage.
If you go to university you’ll have to pay some of your fees, and in England you’ll pay three times as much as those living in Wales. You’ll have a substantial debt when you leave. You’ll find there are many more people with degrees and the competition for jobs more severe.
Times are tough for the young and you would think that they would get a helping hand from London. Instead they are being squeezed. The UK government knows that younger people tend not to vote and so they think they can target them with no comeback.
Time for young people to vote, and to make their voices heard, and time for a UK government that cares about their prospects.