How the Tories have failed young people

One in four people between 20 and 34 are still living with their parents


The last parliament was a bad time to be a young person, and the Tories’ failed plans mean life for the next generation is getting harder.

For example, the average student will now graduate with £44,000 of debt – an increase of £20,000 on the previous system – and most will not pay off the loan until their early 50s. The Tories have refused to rule out another tuition fees hike.

For those not in higher education, things aren’t much better. The proportion of apprenticeships taken up by 16 to 24-year-olds has fallen from 82.3 per cent when Labour last left office, to 63.2 per cent last year.

Between 2012/12 and 2013/14 the number of people under 25 starting an apprenticeship fell by 1,060. 24 per cent of apprenticeships aged between 19 and 24 receive no formal training and one in five young apprentices are not being paid the minimum wage.

Under the Tories, a record one in four young people – 3.3 million – are living with their parents into their thirties as rent and deposits continue to rise. Analysis by the House of Commons Library shows that if things continue in this way then the average deposit of a home in the UK will be a staggering £72,000 by 2020.

The price hike has already had a significant impact on the lives of young people; in 2009/10, 14 per cent of 16-24-year-olds and 47 per cent of 25-34-year-olds were homeowners. By 2012/13, this had declined to 11 per cent for 16-24 year olds and 40 per cent of 25-34 year olds.

If the current rate continues, 4.9 million young people will still be living with their parents in 2020.

Young people are also having their opportunities limited by Conservative reforms which are denying them access to the best teaching. This government scrapped the requirement for all permanently employed teachers to be qualified, which meant a 16 per cent rise in unqualified teachers in state funded schools in 2013-4. Academies and Free Schools have seen a 50 per cent increase. The government has also missed its own target for trainee teachers for the third year in a row, and a record 50,000 teachers quit the profession last year.

Lucy Powell, vice chair of Labour’s 2015 General Election campaign, said today:

“Under David Cameron over 700,000 young people are unemployed, the gap between wage growth and the rising cost of living has hit them particularly hard, it’s harder to get on the housing ladder and tuition fees have trebled.” 

“Labour has a better plan. We’ll cut tuition fees, get homes built and axe stamp duty for first-time buyers, give a job guarantee to the young unemployed and create apprenticeships for every school leaver who gets the grades.”

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

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