Welfare or Well Unfair? Featured

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David Cameron’s recent suggestion that people under the age of 25 could lose housing benefits is sure to stir up some fiery reactions amongst the younger generation of Britain. The Prime Minister has claimed that considerations are being made to put these controversial cuts in action in order to promote family life and less unemployment amongst young people. In a typically Tory stance Cameron is said to believe that people under the age of 25 should, instead of relying on state support, revert to the older tradition of living with their parents until they can support themselves. I can almost hear the shocked gasps and angry tuts that must surely be reverberating throughout the country.  Once again, good ol’ Conservative values are making a last ditch attempt to save the economic disaster by swiping much-needed help from under the feet of an ill society.

It has been suggested by one BBC political correspondent that the article is a ‘clear appeal to core Tory voters and MPs who have criticised Mr Cameron for failing to promote Conservative values while in coalition with the Liberal Democrats.’ And this seems to get straight to the crux of the matter; Conservative values simply do not support the Welfare State we are (perhaps not for much longer) living in. With the country up in arms about what on earth can possibly be done to try and salvage a country that is, to put it simply, in dire straights, an area of debate such as this one is always a sensitive thing. ‘Cuts must be made somewhere, right?’ many are asking with confusion indented firmly on their politically challenged brows. But what has to be remembered is that attacking the people that need help the most is not a valid way to deal with an economic crisis.

In suggesting that young people can live with their families until able to support themselves, Cameron has simplified a whole barrel of extremely complex issues. Forget for a minute the stereotyped image of the lazy youngster that wants to sit on his or her backside feeding greedily off state hand outs for as long as possible. Think, instead, outside of the desperately dull Conservative box and let your mind wander to those parts of society that Cameron seems to have conveniently overlooked in making this suggestion. It is an absurd claim to make that the solution to the near two billion pounds being spent a year on housing benefits for under-25s is for future unemployed young’ns to simply stay put in their family homes. Firstly, an obvious flaw springs to mind in that a huge percentage of young people in this country simply do not have this luxury of, as it seems to be in Cameron’s mind, idyllic family life. Believe it or not, Mr C, not everyone was brought up in the little house on the prairie. Many children are actually supported by the state until they are 18 years of age, suggesting that to take away the option of housing benefit from them at this point would leave them well and truly stranded. A huge percentage of Britain’s youth go to University, or rely on housing benefits to escape an extremely poor quality of home life. Yes, Cameron’s policy may work for the portion of under-25s that have welcoming families to return to after University, or remain with after school, but what about the rest?

Further, some responses to this un-equalitarian endeavour have been to point out that young people are this country’s future: a fact that should not be overlooked. Cameron’s argument is that young people ‘trapped’ in the welfare system are likely to have less determination to become employed than those living at home with their parents. This a bizarre point to make, with little evidence to back it up. It could be argued that young people living at home with their parents have just as much room for becoming ‘lazy’ and dependent on their family handouts as people living under the care of the state. The word microcosm springs to mind. The point is that not everyone has this luxury, and further, it seems wholly old-fashioned to expect the future of this country to live at home with their parents, stifling potential career opportunities, and instead going on to have families of their own before truly reaching their potential. This could hold disastrous consequences for the future. The government should be encouraging under-25s to become independent, and pursue the careers that will one day enable them to form vital parts of this society, not shoving them back into the nest of mediocrity.

Welfare or simply, well unfair? You decide.

India Johnson

I have a degree in English from Leeds Uni and love to write. I like music, pretty words, films (especially French films) and books (especially American lit).

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