A prosperous economy makes little difference if you end up leading the life of an owned peasant
As if the latest instalment of government cuts hasn’t infuriated me enough, comments made by the Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, have put the nail in my already corroded opinion of the Tory Government coffin.
According to Javid, the main concern for young people in these financially turbulent times is the growing economy, hence the unrelenting cuts to the services that will affect them most. Students now heading to university, who were previously relying on grants from the government to fill the financial void their parents couldn’t, will have to take out a loan. This is yet another stone on top of the other two – tuition and maintenance loans – they already have joyful acquaintance with. Such a step puts many of them in a position of having to leave university (if they can even get there in the first place), with a surplus debt of £50,000. But of course, it’s the economy, not this, that matters.
But even before the milestone event of welcoming graduation (and the prospect of a lifetime in debt) you have to get through those three pretty precious, life-changing years. That’s of course if you can afford the uncapped student rents, sinful backroom charges of student letting agents and the bills, which although minimal, as anyone will tell you, still add up. But of course, it’s the growing, blooming economy that is the real winner for everyone here, not this.
There are, however, those who can’t afford the noted above, because unlike certain public school-educated-financially-comfortable-Chancellor-figures (no names mentioned, that would be rude of course) not everyone can rely on the eternally replenishing bank of mum and dad. But then the economy quite frankly is, if not going to be, one of the best in Europe, maybe the world! So on the whole, it is that exciting prospect that really matters here, sorry not you students.
But steering away from the negative, there is still the lucky majority (did someone know the divide between rich and poor is at its modern-day high? No, I couldn’t possibly agree) who will be able to grace those golden-paved stairways of university and experience all the lifetime opportunities it brings … With the odd nine to five job that will probably take up more of your time than studying and that maybe, just maybe, will allow you to cover the month’s rent. But oh yeah I forgot! The economy is booming! Student meets full-time employee? I’m probably going to be working until I’m 80 so what’s the difference ey?! Might as well get started now.
And then the day finally comes, the day you finally say goodbye to the best Occupation Status you will ever be able to scribble down on an admin form. Student no more, underpaid, slave labour come at me. Leaving university, unlikely to walk straight into a graduate placement, the newly departed students are still three years short of falling within the blessed bracket of the new living wage – £9 an hour if you are over 25 … far too generous of you George. But no, you’ve probably got several months, if not years, of toiling through dead-end, underpaid (if paid at all) jobs. Three years at university and all those sleepless library nights are really proving worth it, aren’t they?
Because what you don’t realise Mr Javid, is that quite frankly, for young people, it’s not just the economy that matters. In fact, if I could speak on behalf of most young students when I say this, whose sentiment, I appreciate this article and my opinion may not fully capture – but you know what, I don’t care. Not because it isn’t important – I am not so naïve of our country’s deeply embedded capitalist interests where the state of the economy affects us all – but because the past five years have proved, it has benefited me little, and for much of the foreseeable future, probably never will.
Sorry to break it to you, but on the whole there are truer concerns on my mind than this economy that you speak of. Call me a cliché, but I want to learn and explore all variations of life, both in the lecture hall and the real world. I want to live independently and experience endlessly – and how you ask? Preferably without having to constantly fall back on the financial support of my parents or brutal loan interest rates.
All this government has ever done is prove how little it values the young; their aspirations, dreams, education and the circumstances that prevent or encourage them from getting to where they need to be. The announcements of the recent Summer Budget and your comments, MrJavid, that followed, further confirm this point.
Although maybe not to you, education is a right, not a privilege. Yet given the current course of your government, you are making the opposite of that statement a rapidly occurring reality. Stop putting a price on the invaluable life-years of university, being a student and a young adult. Then maybe, just maybe, we can buy into your belief, of our supposed belief, in the importance of the economy. It is the only thing that matters, after all.