Rather than punishing the upcoming generation, George Osborne’s Summer Budget will create the conditions for young people to thrive
In his Summer Budget, George Osborne set out plans to increase the National Minimum Wage to £9 by 2015 for those over the age of 25. Osborne’s plan, which nearly matches the Green Party’s pre-election pledge to create a £10 Living Wage, almost sounds too good to be true.
But, then again, as the old saying goes, ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.’
Indeed, there are doubts about the impact of the increase. Logically, it will automatically make those eligible for the new so-called ‘Living Wage’ less desirable to employers. These individuals will suddenly cost more per hour, risking the profitability of many small businesses. Moreover, those on zero-hours contracts will quickly find their hours drastically reduced. Thus, should young people really criticize Osborne for excluding us from this curse?
I’m 16. For the summer, I’ve taken a job as a waiter. As it stands, where I work they will only hire inexperienced workers if they are under the age of 18. Why? Because we’re cheaper. What will happen when employers are obliged to pay everyone over the age of 25 £9 per hour? The employment prospects of young people will increase exponentially. We will be cheaper than the competition, and more desirable to employers.
This is great for anyone under the age of 25. If you plan to leave school and go straight into work the government have just made your search for a job astronomically easier. Furthermore, even if you plan to go to university, getting a part-time job during your degree will be less painless. By curbing the free market, Osborne has effectively created a young-labour-powerhouse.
There has also been criticism of Osborne’s decision to scrap university maintenance grants. I feel this is actually good for young people, as well as the population as a whole - as controversial as that might sound. Indeed, if we are to avert a crisis such as the one currently rupturing the Greek economy, then we need to have a balanced fiscal plan, which decreases reliance on government spending. As the Great Recession showed, financial meltdown does nothing to benefit young people.
Finally, Osborne has drawn the ire of those who oppose his decision to increase the age at which you can claim housing benefits. It is now harder to earn tax credits, making it more difficult to live off the welfare state. Isn’t that a positive change? The welfare state is one of Labour’s many failed products. Instead of helping the needy, it allows employers to pay less in the knowledge that the government will top-up the rest. By cutting back the welfare state, by reducing tax credits, the government isn’t merely helping to cut the deficit – it is creating an environment where employers can’t get away with underpaying us.
In short, we must seriously reconsider whether the Summer Budget was as disastrous for young people as is being extolled by the mainstream media. In fact, I believe Osborne’s Budget was a silent victory for young people.
If you have any opinions, feel free to engage in discussion below.