British millennials are now fearful of ending up destitute after Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to cut employment and housing benefits for unemployed people younger than 25 years old.
In his closing speech at the Conservative Party's conference today, Cameron pledged to address the problem of 'Neets': young people not in education, employment, or training. "Today it is still possible to leave school, sign on, find a flat, start claiming housing benefits and opt for a life on benefits," Cameron said.
There are currently 1.09 million people between the ages of 16 and 24 not in work, education or training in the UK, according to the latest figures from the Department of Work and Pensions. This represents 15% youth unemployment, and is part of a trend across Europe as the Euro zone unemployment rate is now at 25%. Almost one in every two youths in Spain and Greece are without a job.
UK millennials have been complaining over the lack of entry-level opportunities available to them. It is now normal for graduates to participate in at least one unpaid internship in order to gain the experience required by employers. However, only the children of rich families can afford to work for free. Most internships are more readily available in large urban areas, which puts graduates with rural backgrounds at a significant disadvantage.
Trades Union Congress General Secretary Frances O'Grady said, "Given the government's awful track record of helping young people find jobs, the prime minister's threat to ban the dole for under-25s will simply push hundreds of thousands of young people, including those with young families, even deeper into poverty."
Cameron and the Conservative Party have often been accused of elitism. Cameron attended Eton College and claims royalty among his ancestors. The cabinet selected by Cameron after his election was dubbed "the coalition of millionaires" based on the personal wealth of its members. It is hardly surprising that Cameron would have little empathy for people younger than 25 who cannot rely on their parents to bankroll them while they look for a job.
If housing benefits are cut for this demographic, it could save up to £2 billion and allow the Torys to offer income tax cuts, which would please their support base of traditionally wealthy professionals. Millennials, who are least likely to vote for the Conservative Party, are also the least likely to vote, and are merely an easy scapegoat for the Conservative Party.