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

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.

19 Responses to “How the Tories have failed young people”

  1. GTE

    What have you done with the pension contributions? No assets, 9,200 bn debt.

    That’s what happens when the state runs a Ponzi pension.

    So what’s the left wing solution? Screw the young.

    Born into debt bondage

  2. Gerschwin

    Sorry – which Party introduced tuition fees in the first place? Shame on the Labour PIErty for forcing students into poverty and then into financial bondage simply so the Labour PIErty’s banking friends could line their pockets!

  3. Norfolk29

    It was never right for people who had no opportunity to go to Uni to pay for those who did, including the many who could afford to pay. Over 70% of the children of rich parents go to Uni and could always afford to pay. I had a free Uni and a Grant of £256 a year to pay for accommodation, eating, books and travel. There was not a lot left for a social life.

  4. Luke Styles

    Yes it was a mistake. But Labour wants to cut the fees. The coalition put them up.

  5. sarntcrip


  6. Leon Wolfeson

    Sorry – since when did most people here support Labour, as you once more highlight you’re worse morally than them, it’s not just financial bondage you’re after today, is it, as you make nonsense claims about who’s bankers friends – the people selling off the loan book are the Tories.

    But hey, you need to to highlight your buddies and how they’re worse morally…

  7. Leon Wolfeson

    The “cuts” Labour wants are meaningless to all the but highest earners. They’re a propaganda piece, and the resultant funding cuts to Universities would be catastrophic.

  8. Leon Wolfeson

    Your plan. Screw, bondage, your concepts. You blame the left, as you say
    over and over that there are no workers who will be working in the UK, you’ll kill em all!

    You just oppose pensions, Lord Blagger, ignoring the UK’s very moderate pension obligations in favour of “GIMMIE”…

  9. Leon Wolfeson

    If they move out, bedroom tax time. Which screws over the parents. Oops!

  10. Luke Styles

    Three grand a cut year may be meaningless to you but not the average person. Under the coalitions disastrous handling of this, the proportion of students not paying has sky rocketed.

  11. Leon Wolfeson

    You are, bluntly, a liar.

    The reality is that the way loans are repaid means that most people would still not pay the loans off, and pay them constantly until they’re written off. It will make ZERO difference for most. Period.

    Your concern is fake, all you achieve is a massive de-funding of universities – half or more would likely be looking at closing, and they’d have to make massive staffing cuts.

  12. Luke Styles

    And you sir are extremely rude. Please don’t question my honesty just because I have a different view from you. Try and learn to respect other people’s views. If you are a decent human being you would apologise.

  13. Leon Wolfeson

    Rude? Truthful. That is what you are complaining about.

    To be clear, I don’t “question” your honesty, you are factually a liar and you are pushing propaganda as a truth, claiming that lie is a “different view”. I will not apologise for calling you the mendacious liar you are, and the decency is lacking on your side, as you attack the Universities you evidently hate.

    This has, of course, been covered on LFF in the past – //

  14. Leon Wolfeson

    Rude? Truthful. That is what you are complaining about.

    To be clear, I don’t “question” your honesty, you are factually a liar and you are pushing propaganda as a truth, claiming that lie is a “different view”. I will not apologise for calling you the mendacious liar you are, and the decency is lacking on your side, as you attack the Universities you evidently hate.

    This has, of course, been covered on LFF in the past – //

  15. Leon Wolfeson

    So you are arguing it’s never right to invest for the best of the economy, as you highlight the fact that you had a chance which people do not today, and it’s driving poorer people away from even considering University (in fact, the 3.3k fees did so).

    The correct place to take from richer people is the tax system, not in a system which makes it a net personal financial loss for most people to attend University. The country benefits, but many people who SHOULD be going to the math and don’t.

    That’s what you’re supporting.

  16. Norfolk29

    Interesting. Have you been to University? We call it maths in the UK as it is a shortening of the word mathematics (which is plural and embraces arithmetic, geometry, algebra, and a number of other numeracy disciplines). Going to University should enable you to earn at least twice what non-graduates earn. It did for me, sometimes three times average pay, and within my first year after graduation I had paid for my annual grant for two years in tax. People today do have the opportunity to go to university and both of my children and ten of my nephews and nieces went to university. Three of them have Msc’s, and one was a lecturer at Harvard University. You imply that if your parents are rich, say like Cameron or Osborne, they should have a free education at University so its straight from Eton and St Pauls to Oxford, straight from £30,000 a year at Public School to a free university degree. Wake up to the real world where these rich people pay a lower rate of tax than their cleaners.

  17. Leon Wolfeson

    Richer people should be paying higher general taxes, funding universal services and free university education.

    The reality is that the average graduate premium in the UK is *extremely* low (due primarily to companies being allowed to take the ****) – and I don’t believe it hits 200% anywhere in the world. If you managed to get into the city, which is the only place it is routinely that high in the UK, then you are indeed doing well.

    I’m aware of the real world where you end up with richer people predominant at University, which is what has happened. You mention the fact than YOU benefited from grants, and both you and the UK benefited. That’s what should happen!

    Instead, we have a system MORE expensive in the long-term for the taxpayer, and a negative personal return. But as your family have benefited from your wealth…

  18. Faerieson

    You are either a fool or else- presumably proudly private pension- self serving in the extreme. If words upon the page could deafen your’s surely would! Your blind rage seems hell bent on screwing someone blameless.

    And yet you haven’t the first clue as to where to search out the major causes of the UK’s debt. Unless this is all some sort of game to you.

  19. BlueCat57

    Logic anyone?
    So since the plans failed (no indication of why they failed or if someone from the opposition caused them to fail) that implies that if they had succeeded that they would have helped young people. So why didn’t the opposition work to help the Tories’ plans succeed?
    So why are so many living with their parents? Because there isn’t enough other people’s money to subsidize cheap housing and pay out welfare benefits to people who can’t find a job because high taxes choke off hiring.
    Lots of stats here Ruby, but no logic or examination of the reasons why the plans failed. Is it the Tories’ fault if the opposition or someone else caused their plans to fail?
    Too bad you didn’t read some old literature while in school. You might have learned some logic and a lot more about what makes a country successful. You apparently travel a good deal, don’t you see the contrast between the poverty in a country where they are dependent upon the government and the wealth where businesses are free to exploit tourists. Even that little exposure should teach you that the freer the people the wealthier the nation.

Leave a Reply