SNCLP Youth Post- Teenagers in Work
The Conservative government has abandoned the young. They know that we’ll never vote for them and thus see the most of us as expendable robots to suffer the brunt of austerity knowing that we will never be able to vote them out until we are 18 and even then we won’t be able to make a big enough share of the vote to have an impact. Or so they thought.
I will save my concerns over tuition fees and, more importantly, the rocketing of interest rates on student loans to 7% for another article for there is a subtler and even more dangerous attempt to punish the next generation for having the gall to feel disillusioned by austerity. Work.
We all remember the Norman Tebbit speech which demanded that young people “get on their bike to look for work” during the height of Thatcherism which did nothing to stop the record youth unemployment. They are old words but still the guiding principle of the Tories’ economic policy today: don’t be fooled by the so-called “detoxification” of their party just because they decided to let gay people marry.
They would point to the growing amounts of new businesses which all need part time workers, the bulk of whom have always been the under 20s, and claim that there is plenty of work about for young people. But work isn’t the problem. Its pay.
You are not entitled to the “living wage” in the UK unless you are 25. Students needing to pay off debt, young adults coming out of care, vulnerable LGBT teenagers who have been kicked out of their homes all need sustainable and profitable employment if we are to build a better society and a fairer economy. How can this happen when the average under 25-year-old earns only £5 an hour? I wonder if the Tories who introduced such discriminatory laws would like their children to live in such an underfunded condition?
Labour understands the plight of young people in the workplace by promising that the real £10 hourly living wage will be compulsory for employers to pay workers as young as sixteen. We have proven our ability to establish a well-paid environment for young workers with the introduction of the minimum wage when we were in government and our 2010 and 2015 manifestos which promised greater rights for young people in work. Now it is time to take our fight one step further by electing a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn that will finally ensure financial strength and (if you’ll pardon the pun) stability to a young workforce which badly needs it.
Conrad Whitcroft is Youth Officer for South Northamptonshire Constituency Labour Party and was Head Boy at Northampton School for Boys until June. He was not able to vote in time for the 2017 General Election but still joined the team on the campaign trail to convince his elders to vote Labour which may well have made a bigger impact on the election than one vote could have.
There will likely be another election soon and if you’re also not of voting age at the time it is called you can still register to vote, join our CLP and campaign to put in a government that will improve your education, your pay and even give you the right to vote!
Join up at https://join.labour.org.uk/
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