The New Lost Generation
January 21, 2011 Leave a comment
Government attacks on the young could create a generation in unemployment and poverty.
Since May we have seen an appalling amount of Tory-led government cuts that will directly affect young people, especially teenagers. Tuition fees were forced to rise exorbitantly due to cuts in higher education funding, the Future Jobs Fund, a scheme that began in 2009 and by March 2011 will have funded over 100,000 jobs, mainly aimed at 18–24 year olds who have been out of work for six months and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, is now closed to funding bids and Educational Maintenance Allowance, to financially assist those from lower-income families during post-16 education was scrapped this week as Labour lost the vote to save it by a majority of 59 votes.
With regards to tuition fees and EMA, huge public protests took place against the governments proposals, but they simply weren’t listening. They have promised new, better schemes and delivery for EMA and the Future Jobs Fund and yet have not explained what these replacement schemes are and how and when they will be implemented. They have also failed to explain why they have scrapped EMA and the FJF now, without having these supposedly better schemes in place. Instead they have left many young people without funding and without valuable assistance to find work for the foreseeable future and the assurances that these new, improved schemes will be implemented don’t really hold much weight when this Tory-led government have broken so many of the promises and assurances that they made prior to the election.
Without EMA to help young people stay in education, without the Future Jobs Fund to give assistance into employment and with rising tuition fees that scare many away from applying to university the country could end up with a generation of young people, from predominantly low-income families, who are not able to reach their full potential, unable to better themselves and achieve their aspirations and end up trapped in the poverty cycle. Rather than attempting to close the attainment gap between the rich and the poor the government seems to be driving an even larger wedge between the two.
The convenient excuse of course is that “we need to reduce the deficit”. Yes we do, but we don’t need to reduce it at such ridiculous speeds and by storming in and cutting valuable assistance for young people within a few months, clearly without full consideration and after pledging not to less than a year ago. All these cuts and measures aimed at reducing the deficit are hitting the poorest in society the hardest and yet measures such as a tiny tax on the financial sector which would generate billions of pounds (lets not forget it was the irresponsible actions of the bankers who created this problem) are completely ignored.
Funny, I’ve not heard George Osborne say “we’re all in this together” recently.