As more and more qualified and talented young people are ending up unemployed or underemployed, David Cameron’s speech on his plans to further attack the welfare system today is yet another nail in the coffin of the future of a whole generation.
380,000 young people under the age of 25 across Britain and Northern Ireland, claiming housing benefit or being housed in council/housing executive homes are the target of the next attack by the Tories.
Under the new Tory plans benefits would be capped, effectively leaving many families with more than 3 children faced with difficult choices between basic necessities such as whether to have 3 meals a day or heat their home. The proposal have also outlined plans for stopping school leavers from claiming benefits and those under 25 from getting housing support including over 170,000 single parent families.
In the current climate where young people face constant abrasion of their living conditions along with skyrocketing rent and increasing cost of living, many have already been forced to move back in with parents, as the only precarious work available to them does not provide enough to live on, never mind being able to pay rent or support a child. In response to the announcement today, Campbell Robb of the housing charity ‘Shelter’ said: “I think we would see many more people ending up homeless as a result of this kind of very significant change.”
Despite the announcement today, these attacks won’t come down into effect until at least late 2013 at the earliest and even later for those here in the North as the law must also be rubber-stamped by the Stormont government. However, the plans were announced today ‘to spark debate’ – really they were announced to further degrade young people, particularly those reliant on state support to live independently or support their families.
Both the politicians in Stormont and Westminster and the mass media are pushing the blame for the global crisis on ordinary workers, students, unemployed – but particularly the younger generations. In reality, those that caused the crisis are the mega-rich bankers and speculators – the same people who are pushing politicians to implement massive and drastic austerity measures meaning that young people face worse living conditions than their grandparents, for the first time in nearly a hundred years.
The solution to this depressing crisis of housing and jobs is simple, the 1.5 billion claimed to be saved by cutting housing benefit could be easily recouped by taxing the mega-rich and collecting the £35 billion of tax avoided by the likes of Phillip Green owner of high street giant Topshop/Topman and ironically Jimmy Carr who last year ridiculed Barclay’s for paying 1% tax despite paying less than 1% himself! This extra money – to the tune of over £100 billion could be pumped into a massive scheme of job creation, creating over 500,000 public sector, socially useful jobs such as building enough new homes to house the 220,000 on the housing waiting list and reopening youth and training services – to give everyone a better future.