Something has been baffling me: why won’t – under the government’s budget proposals – those under the age of 25 be entitled to the much-hyped National Living Wage? This puzzlement has spurred me to understand why the government has excluded young people, who are at the start of their adult lives, from their plans to implement a compulsory National Living Wage from April 2016.
As far as I’m aware, those of us under the age of 25: do not have the luxury of cheaper rents, do not find our appetite increases dramatically the moment we reach 25, and we generally don’t receive discounts on our daily living expenses. I mean, I certainly don’t and my friends and peers would concur.
So i’m sat here thinking, what could possibly be the reason to exclude around 2 million people from a decent standard of living?
The Treasury has argued that “the priority is to secure work and gain experience” for those under 25. But that doesn’t really answer, if at all, the question as to what these people are supposed to live off. Experience is all well and good, but people still need to pay rent and bills, buy food and generally live their lives. Is the Treasury inferring that if you’re under 25, you need to prove your worth before you can afford a standard of living which won’t tip you below the line and into poverty?
Unfortunately, it’s not just paying a decent wage to under 25s the government appears to have a problem with. The budget has also detailed plans to scrap the maintenance grant from students attending University and to scrap housing benefit if you’re 18-21 years old.
The three of these (abolishment of maintenance grant, no NLW wage and scrapping housing benefit for under 21s) combined is a brutal blow against young people in England today. They’re a barrier that is immediately constructed the very second you’re about to try and start your life as an adult. And it’s an assault to those who find themselves from backgrounds with little or no money.
I’m going to keep researching this. I find the government’s reasoning bizarre and illogical. And in all honesty, it’s worrying as we’re only now at the start of a five year Conservative government.