Budget giveaways and the young
SIR – Last week’s Budget laid bare the failure of young people to engage with Westminster politics.
While the Government is doing a great deal for young people with the youth contract, boom in apprenticeships, help to buy, work programme, and more, there is plenty more that could be done.
But with a disengaged electoral constituency (less than 44% of under-35s voted in 2010, compared to 75% of over-55s) why would our political masters expend their political capital?
The whole Budget debate showed how failure of young people to engage can shift political priorities. Take just one example, the lively pre-budget debate about tax rates and 40p failed to even mention the marginal tax rate of 51p for young graduates (40% Inc tax; 2% NI; plus 9% student loan) or the criminal rates of 72p over £100k (accounting for allowance withdrawal).
All this means that while older people have done better in recent years than their younger relatives with the IFS last year concluding that incomes of those in their 60s and 70s rose after the recession, while the median income among people in their 20s has dropped 11%, it is the taxes of the young that will pay for budget giveaways to pensioners.
The granny-giveaway Budget was right for the time, but is a damning reflection on the failures of young people to engage with British politics and shape the political landscape.
The saying may be “youth is wasted on the young” but if my generation fail to make a stand we can be sure that “budget giveaways are wasted on the young” will be just as true.