Young worker, Brighton
Cameron’s proposals to scrap benefits for under-25s is yet another attack on young people from this government of millionaires.
Over one million 16-24 year olds are out of work, not in education or training – and the Con-Dems’ solution is to cut the few bits of support left.
The benefits available to young people aren’t lavish by any means, but they provide an important lifeline.
I have experienced living on benefits, having been unemployed after graduating from university. Without those benefits I would have been forced to move back with my parents, losing any sense of independence I had gained at university as well as, in effect, winding the clock back on hopes of decent employment.
It would have been likely that I ended up in the same job I had before leaving home for university. Ending up with thousands of pounds worth of debt and returning to the same minimum wage retail job is not why young people want to go into higher education.
The Tories’ vision for young people is clear – living with your parents until at least your late 20s.
For many this would mean moving back to the very unemployment blackspots they tried to escape, and shattering hopes and aspirations.
We’ve already seen tuition fees price a generation of working class young people out of university, cuts destroy youth services and thousands of jobs disappear.
This government is constantly talking about a ‘dependency culture’, but denying benefits for young people would encourage even more dependency.
Of course this is the sort of dependency the Tories like – taking welfare out of public spending and forcing working class families to effectively provide it out of their own pockets.
Living on benefits is a grim existence, being forced to search and apply for jobs that don’t exist while constantly facing the prospect of being forced to work for free through workfare.
Benefits should be expanded to provide unemployed people with a decent standard of living.
But there shouldn’t be the need for young people, or anyone, to be out of work in the first place. The best way to reduce the benefit bill is not to remove benefits from young people but to invest in a massive job creation programme, which could provide everyone with a decent job, and a decent wage.
It is clear that this type of future is a fantasy under the Con-Dems. Young people need to be fighting for a chance at a decent future and for a different type of society.