Well, here it is. The ‘One Nation’ Conservative Budget of 2015. Who wouldn’t have expected less of the cold-hearted Osborne? Cuts here and there, cuts everywhere. The reaction to the budget has seen protesters lobbying Parliament over cuts to disability benefits, welfare benefits and the drastic cut of university grants altogether. The anticipated cut of welfare benefits from £26,000 per annum to £23,000 in the Conservative manifesto, dug even deeper when Osborne announced the cuts would dwindle down to just £20,000 per annum. This effectively means that working families receiving tax credits will be now about £60-£70 worse off each week. These welfare cuts are certainly no implication that ‘One Nation’ toryism has returned to the Conservative Party, instead, they signal more of a nod towards Thatcherism.

But, who has been hit the hardest by this budget? The under-25s of course. The voters whom the Tories consistently lack support from at each election have been coldly served a dish of revenge by the Conservative Budget. One of the key setbacks for this age group in the Budget was the abolishment of University Grants, which in turn means that those from low-income families will greatly struggle to make ends meet if they even decide to go to university in light of this decision. As an A-Level student myself, I have been visiting several universities on open days and at each, hearing about the mechanisms of student finance and how the grants work for those whose family income falls below a certain level. Unfortunately, all this is now redundant thanks to good old George Osborne who has decided to ‘replace’ the grants simply with the existing system of student loans for all students.

If the Tories were aiming to re-attract the under-25s by 2020, this move certainly suggests that they most definitely are not. The apparent apathy towards the needs of this generation seems to imply that the Tories simply do not care about this age group, who are well-known to be the least likely age group to vote. This conclusively means that Osborne may have disenchanted a wave of new voters by making significant cuts to their future education and ability to simply get by in life, through the cuts to housing benefits for the under-25s. Yes, as if the University Grant abolishment was not enough, the Chancellor has gone and cut housing benefits too, thus restricting the economic wellbeing of an entire generation to practically nothing.

Whilst the announcement of the introduction of the living wage has been commended by many political commentators, the fact remains that with inflation rising each year, by 2020 even when the living wage is £9 per hour, this is likely to just be enough to have caught up with the ridiculous rise in living costs, meaning that many people will merely be getting by. However, yet again, this rise only really benefits those aged over 25 as the new living wage excludes those who are younger than this seemingly, most financially advantageous age of 25! One may question how the Chancellor expects the next generation of his diligent workers to survive past this landmark age, as he threatens poverty for the majority of young people hoping to get into employment after slaving through our examination-obsessed education system, and risking the lifelong debt of tuition fees following university.

Indeed, whilst the Chancellor may have given a tax break to those who are fortunate enough to inherit a family home, and to the Tories’ good-old business chums who will receive a tax relief on employment regulations, the current Prime Minister has definitively angered a great deal of the population who are now unlikely to vote for him in 2020. What the Chancellor may have on his hands in 2020 is a nation of disaffected voters who are still scarred by these cuts and not willing to forget it when they tick the ballot box. To an even greater extent, the cohort of younger voters at election time may be so completely apathetic towards politics altogether that voter turnout will once again drop, and with it the sense that Britain is truly a ‘representative’ democracy.

However, what if these youngsters were able to channel their rage effectively against the Tories and muscle a surge of support for Labour in the run-up to the 2020 General Election? Believe you me, if Labour were wise, they should presently capitalise on the disaffection towards the government and specifically target these young voters who may actually consider voting for a government that offers them a brighter future.

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