I like many have been seeing the signs over the past few years that there is a generation, that, for the first time is worse off than their parents. It was the norm for people of my generation to grow up knowing that they could, by putting the effort in, be the first in their family to go onto further education, the first to own a home or start a business. The confidence, and determination that a croc of gold like this could instill helped Gerardine, I and many others have “belief” in our dreams. For us it gave us the confidence to leave home at a very early age, to “have a go” on Camden and Kensington Markets and ultimately to build our brands and businesses. Once we had got going everything fell into place. When the empirical evidence of a “worse of” generation start to roll in as they are doing now there must be a danger of an erosion of “belief” and for many a destruction of "hope". Some may never get the chance or have the confidence to “get going”.
In July a report by the Resolution Foundation in July 2016 showed that those aged between 15 and 35 earned on average £8000 less than the previous generation. This report also highlighted that the current governments tax and benefit plans will take £1.7 billion from the under 35’s while giving away £1.2 billion my generation in the next four years.
Add to this their increasing difficulty to buy housing, rent and the insecure employment situation and you get something of a perfect storm.
This week according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies people born in the 80s have an average household wealth of £27,000 per adult (including housing financial and private pension assets) this compares terribly with the £53,000 figure achieved by those born in the 70s. The reports talk of a stagnation in working age incomes and that there has been a 15% drop in home ownership for under 35’s in a decade.
Clearly parents that can afford to, are helping out their children with that miserable term “the bank of mum and dad”. Of course parents want to help children get a start in life, and faced with the current conditions are going to do just that but I know that many young people would prefer opportunity to graft and do it themselves and obtain the sense of self achievement that comes with this.
And for those whose parents have helped them onto the housing ladder the inequality gets multiplied with children of the 1980s who are renting spending 30% of their net income on housing costs, whilst those with their own homes spending half that at 15%.
Those of us that believe that it is our duty to leave this world a better place than we found it have to do what we can to support more affordable house building, a rental sector that favours the tenant and a fairer job market. But we can’t do it without the generation that is being “shafted” getting more political. I have confidence that they will.