Blame austerity, not old people, for the plight of Britain’s young.
We are governed by charlatans. The scale of economic mismanagement of our country is too little understood. We connive in epic mistakes and unnecessary suffering, legitimised by a suffocating and destructive economic consensus whose analytic underpinnings are in shreds – and known to be in shreds. Who cares for the condition of Britain or its people?
The facts are brutal. By 2018, 10 years after the financial crisis began, our GDP will be, cumulatively, 16% lower than it would have been had the crisis not broken. Only war has provoked such a discontinuity in our growth performance in modern times. This is imposing incredible and growing hardship on everybody, except for a few. Average incomes have fallen by 7% from their peak. You can see the effects in any high street. It’s a world where good jobs are scarce, half a million rely on food banks, zero-hour contracts mushroom and the future is dark.
The young are at the centre of this maelstrom. Between 2008 and 2012, the Institute of Fiscal Studies reports that average incomes for people in their 20s fell by 12% – the largest of any group. The reason is not hard to find: there has been a collapse in demand for their labour. Firms, fearful for their own future, are not offering first “entry” jobs on any scale, let alone promoting and giving opportunity to the young they do employ. A quarter of firms offer no entry jobs at all. One in five 16- to 24-year-olds is without work. Read more