“Lazy millennials have it easy today” say your aging parents in a house they saved for at a full-time job they got straight out of school.
If your parents started with nothing, then you’ve started with negative numbers. As you make your way through adult life you find that all the things that used to be a given are now a barely attainable pipe dream thanks to government policy and something to do with the economy.
Are you a young person in the UK in 2016? Then good luck…
Housing benefit has been cut, and 18-to-21 year-olds are no longer eligible unless they are judged “vulnerable”. £816 was the average rental paid by tenants in both England and Wales last September, up from £768 in 2014.
All this is happening against the nightmarish backdrop of an escalating rental market. We live in a world where you can pay £530 a month to live in a shed in London; as for actually buying a house? Good luck earning enough for that deposit or ever paying off that 40-year mortgage.
Getting a Decent Job
Now for some good news, right? Wrong. Since 2010, the government has spent more than £5.5bn on 2.6 million apprenticeships, only for the majority of new places to be taken by those aged 25 and over. Positive part-time work is also hard to come by, as zero-hour contracts have risen to over 800,000 (2.5% of the employed UK workforce) as of March 2016.
So, rent is high and employment opportunities are looking bleak, but at least you have your education, right? Yes, but uncapped university places multiplied by uncapped university fees basically means your degree isn’t worth shit in the job market and you’re going to take forever paying it back.
Remember when the Living Wage was supposed to raise your income? The government’s wage increase from £6.70 to £7.20 an hour (for over-25s only) finally came in this year, and your employers are already finding ways to screw you over and get around it.
Ending overtime, paid breaks, and staff lunches are among some of the ways businesses are trying to offset the cost, but don’t worry: these cash-strapped UK companies are due a cool £15bn tax break by 2020 thanks to cuts in corporation tax.
The difficult-to-look-at minimum wage for under-25s varies from £3.30 for apprentices to £6.70 for over-21s in employment, so you’re even more screwed.
Chin up though, the economy’s doing well!