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From: The Socialist issue 845, 25 February 2015: Kick out corrupt politicians

Search site for keywords: Young people - Parents - Jobs - Zero-hour contracts - Youth - Housing - JSA - Election - Benefits - Apprenticeships

Worse off than our parents

Tanis Belsham-Wray, Leeds Socialist Party

With the approaching general election, many young people, like me, are looking for answers to the multitude of problems over jobs, pay, housing, and education, etc. One million fewer youths registered to vote in this election highlights how much we feel abandoned by the main parties.

Prime Minister Cameron has stated that, if he gets in again, the Tories will scrap housing benefit for 18-21 year olds. This would plunge young people into poverty and even homelessness as, for many, moving back in with their parents is simply not an option.

The Tories also want to abolish Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) for this age group and replace it with a 'work for your dole' scheme.

Labour's leader Ed Miliband isn't far behind in also attacking young people's rights. Last summer he proposed plans to remove benefits for under 21s and replace them with a 'youth allowance', at the same miserable JSA rate, dependent on the claimant taking part in 'training'. It will be means tested on the parents' income.

Youth unemployment stands at around 17% and the new jobs that have been created in the economy are mainly low paid, zero-hour contracts.

Apprenticeships are also being used by employers to get away with paying young workers as little as 2.73 an hour. It's not surprising that a study by Oxford University has found people born in the 1980s are more likely to be worse off than their parents' generation.

Enough is enough. We need a new, mass party which represents us and the rest of the working class. We need a 10 an hour minimum wage now and the scrapping of zero-hour contracts.

We need to stop schemes that penalise the young unemployed, such as workfare, and instead invest resources into building much needed council homes and restoring public services to provide decently paid and secure jobs.

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