On Wednesday George Osborne, the 44-year-old Conservative Chancellor, unveiled his plans for the new budget.
They included a compulsory National Living Wage, which will start at £7.20 and apparently rise to £9 by 2020, to replace the current £6.50 minimum wage. Sounds great right? Well, not quite; it will only apply to over-25s.
Don’t get me wrong, a compulsory living wage is a great thing – 2.5 million people will get a well-deserved pay rise. But what about the 2 million under-25s, many of whom are still reeling from the rise in tuition fees, who are getting nothing. See what happens when you don’t vote?
Other new policies outlined in the first all-Tory budget for nearly 20 years, quite predictably, included tax breaks for the rich and a hammering for people who claim benefits.
Benefit claimants, some of the worst off people in our country, will suffer a £35 billion pound slash to their income – including a £4.5 billion cut to tax credits this year alone.
Iain Duncan Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, punched the air and shouted “fucking get in” – in the same way I would imagine a hooligan would celebrate after shredding a man’s face with a beer bottle – as the Chancellor declared: “Britain deserves a pay rise”. Smoke and mirrors.
The more observant of us will appreciate that the Tories are giving with one hand (there’s some real talent in their PR department) and taking away with another. Chris Leslie, the 43-year-old Labour Shadow Chancellor, argued that an average single parent would gain around £400 a year from the inception of the compulsory Living Wage but will simultaneously lose around £860 in tax credits. He also pointed out that from 2017, parents with two children will receive no housing benefits or universal credits.
Other measures outlined included maintenance grants for students of low-income households being scrapped and replaced with loans. But wait, it’s okay, we have the compulsory Living Wage for over-25s remember? At least the Tories have found some creative ways of fucking us young people over. It shows they care.
Some ways the budget will affect young people:
– Maintenance grants for students, paid to students with family incomes below £42,000, to be scrapped and converted into loans from 2016/17
– Housing benefit for under-21s to be scrapped
– No Living Wage for under-25s