The forgotten generation

18 February 2011
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Drastic cuts are being made to the welfare system so that no one will be better off claiming benefits instead of working but what do you do if there are no jobs?

One in five 16 to 24-year-olds is out of work – a massive rise of 66,000 in the last month alone – and with people living and working for longer, it’s likely things are going to get worse for young people.
 
Out of my friends around half now have jobs (three years after graduating), a quarter are travelling or teaching somewhere around the world and the others are desperately trying to find work.
 
The problem is it’s pretty hard unless you have a certain career set in mind and are lucky enough to get a job in said career. A placement or work experience sounds easy enough, but you’re not only competing with thousands of similarly trained people but also those who can afford to work for free (courtesy of the bank mum and dad) who will always have the upper hand.
 
Young people are getting well and truly battered by the cuts - trebling university fees, scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance and a reduction in Job Seekers’ Allowance is not helping but victimising them.
 
The problem is not every unemployed person is out of work by choice. Cameron appears to be ‘getting tough’ on people who cheat the welfare system but what about the hundreds of people who rely on it because they have no other choice?
 
It disgusts me that the government is still letting banks (many of whom are now government owned) get away with paying bonuses in the millions while the most vulnerable have their benefits restricted.
 
If you’re made redundant, or just can’t get a job – what else are you supposed to do? Several people I know have given up trying and left the country to work abroad, if I was still unemployed I would be joining them.