The doomed youth

24 March 2011

Young people were promised up to 50,000 new apprenticeships and 100,000 more work experience schemes in the Budget this week but this will go nowhere near tackling the growing issue of youth unemployment.

With one in five 16-24-year olds out of work and this number set to rise, Osborne's Budget is just more empty words. He said "the biggest problem facing our economy is a lack of skilled workers" but with it soon to become much harder for young people to go to university and become skilled, there are no signs of this problem abating.

In a recession, highly educated workers are vital but by increasing tuition fees, the government will achieve the opposite.

Universities are massively under funded following major cuts to teaching budgets so if they can charge up to £9,000 a year there's no reason financially why they shouldn't.

The universities of Oxford, Imperial College, Durham, Exeter, Essex, Surrey and Warwick have all said they want to charge the maximum yearly tuition fee and now Manchester University has joined them.

A student borrowing £39,000 for a three-year course could pay back up to £83,000 in total and graduates will pay back 9% of their earnings above £21,000 for 30 years.

Yes they don't have to pay any fees up front, but I find it hard to believe people from poorer backgrounds won't be put off by the huge costs.

If Osborne's budget really was a ‘budget for growth' there would have been more talk about a reversal of the government's public sector cuts and reducing university fees.

The Budget comes days before a massive anti-cuts march in London organised by the TUC. Up to 250,000 people are expected to join the march, which would make it the biggest since the protest against the Iraq War in 2003 when 750,000 took to the streets. Government spending cuts will damage public services and put more than a million out of work.

Of course this money has to come from somewhere, but with actions in Libya costing tens of millions of pounds and the Ministry of Defence way over budget already for 2011, and the bank's announcing big bonuses again, there doesn't seem to be any justice forcing the poorest in society to pay for this shortfall.