Younger workers 'bear heavy burden'

Younger workers 'bear heavy burden'

Chris Leslie says young workers are bearing an increasingly heavy burden as a result of coalition measures

Chris Leslie says young workers are bearing an increasingly heavy burden as a result of coalition measures

First published in National News © by

Workers under the age of 30 have been hit by a real-terms drop in weekly wages of around 10% under the coalition, analysis released by Labour shows.

Earnings for 18 to 21-year-olds have dropped by 10.3% since 2010, while 22 to 29-year-olds saw their weekly income fall by 9.4%, according to research by the House of Commons library.

Chris Leslie, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, warned that young workers are bearing an increasingly heavy burden as a result of coalition measures and neglecting them would put Britain's future prosperity in peril.

A Labour government would set up a panel to assess the impact of its policies on the under-35s, often dubbed "generation rent" because they struggle to get on the housing ladder, he will say in a speech in London.

"For those developing their careers, for the so-called generation rent at the start of their working lives, currently there is an increasingly heavy burden and a distinct lack of coordination in government," he will say.

"After all, this is the generation upon whose shoulders the future prosperity of our country depends. There are 15 million younger people under the age of 35 in this country and in nine months they face a choice about how the economy and government will reflect their ambitions and aspirations.

"Growth doesn't just come from business investment or infrastructure. It comes from the talents and productivity of people.

"As new data on human capital released this week from the Office for National Statistics shows, while the under-35s represent much less than half of the population, they make up two-thirds of our country's human capital. They are a vital asset for our economy - and we neglect this generation at our peril."

In the latest speech as part of Labour's summer campaign blitz, Mr Leslie will set out plans to create a UK advisory forum to improve the way policies affect the younger generation and pledge to make Britain the "best place in the world" to start a career and a family.

He will say: "T he next Labour government should establish a UK advisory forum on the under-35s to assess the impact of policy on generation rent and improve coordination and accountability.

"It is time we acknowledged the squeeze on those in their 20s and 30s, incorporated these questions into our analysis of economic policy and ensured these voices are properly heard in government.

"We should aim for Britain to be the best place in the world to start a career, start a family and fulfil personal ambitions. Not everyone in their 20s and 30s is struggling - but a great many are.

"Today's younger generation have similar ambitions to the older generation and they just want as good a chance as their parents had. They want an economy where enterprise is rewarded and where a fair day's work gets a fair day's pay.

"And they know that the defining challenge of our times is to reconnect the wealth of the country as a whole with their finances and their families. Everyone benefits if this generation succeed - so Labour will do more to support the ambitions and aspirations of generation rent."

Treasury Exchequer Secretary Priti Patel said: " Labour have no right to talk about young people's living standards. In government they wrecked the economy.

"They left young people poorer, with huge government debts to repay, and an uncertain future ahead of them. And they now want to do it all again by raising taxes on jobs.

"When we came to office we made realistic assessments about what had to be done, and took the difficult decisions needed to get the deficit down and the economy improving.

"These are now paying off. There are 1.8 million more people in work, the economy is growing, and the deficit is down by over a third, meaning young people now have a more secure future ahead of them.

"Labour's plans for more spending, more borrowing and higher taxes are exactly what got us into a mess before. Making the same mistakes again would put everything achieved at risk.

"We need to stick to our long-term economic plan, which is delivering a better and brighter future for young people."

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