Tag Archives: summer budget 2015

Opinion: The impact of the Budget on students


George Gideon Osborne. Feared and distrusted by the left, the sensible and reasonable portions of his own party. And now he has given university students yet another reason to distrust him. In the Conservative majority budget issued on July 8 2015, the Chancellor introduced a barrage of attention-grabbing measures, many of which present disappointing news to youths – particularly university undergraduates.

The speculation that the first Tory budget since 1996 will be unforgiving for the young and the unemployed have, sadly, been realised. The National Living Wage (set to £7.20 by next April and £9 by 2020) is all very well for workers over 25, but will not apply to those under 25, who will still have to contend with a £6.50 minimum wage. This means that young people who have just left university will have to make their earnings stretch further to cover the rising cost of living that will result from a more robust economy, which will result from reduction in bank levies and cuts in corporation tax.

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Opinion: Generational strife – where’s the fairness?

The budget does make clear where society’s priorities lay. Cuts to incomes and services of the youngest and poorest, yet tax breaks and protected services for many of the oldest and wealthiest. Tax credits, housing benefit, student grants all sacrificed to reduce the deficit, yet inheritance tax, fuel allowances and state pensions are deemed too important to feel the knife. Why?

The answer of course, is that old people vote in record numbers. None of us who spend time trying to win elections doubt the wisdom of bending to the grey vote, but it is hard to defend. Today’s retirees worked through years of rapid wage and house price inflation, benefited from unsustainably generous final salary pension schemes, and enjoyed the full flowering of the welfare state. In contrast today’s graduates face years of paying off student debts before even dreaming of owning a home, will have to work longer for lower pensions, and are in competition with often better educated people from the four corners of the globe. And to top it all the older generation has bequeathed a national debt that now tops £1.5 trillion, on which the younger generation must pay interest for the next 40 years.

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Surprises are not the same as radicalism – or where George Osborne went wrong

Yesterday’s budget certainly had plenty of surprises. But it says something about the state of our politics that not allowing sensitive information leak ahead of the budget speech counts as a political success. Because surprises — rabbits out of hats — are not the same as radicalism, whatever much of the media, or Osborne himself, would have us believe this morning. The budget, when looked at more closely, was notable for its timidity, not its profundity.

In identifying the nonsense of those on low wages paying relatively large amounts of tax, only to receive it back with interest in tax credits, the chancellor identified a genuinely ridiculous (and illiberal) legacy of Gordon Brown’s time at the Treasury.

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Recent Comments

  • James Brough
    Excellent article. As Mary says, it's just a shame that it needed to be written. Somehow, it seems to have become a worse crime to accuse someone of intolerance...
  • Jennie (she/her)
    ... don't even get me started on supermarket shelves being designed around the 5'8" average male body when I am 5' and quarter of an inch... Most humans of w...
  • Jacci stoyle
    I thought this was an excellent article, brilliantly written and extremely interesting. I also read Invisible Women and was shocked at just how much of women's ...
  • Christopher Stafford
    I think it is wrong to assume that defenders of free-speech are secretly concerned with the promotion of one agenda. This is the party of Mill- that man who mad...
  • Jenny Hazell
    I wonder if the author could give some examples of the sort of speech he thinks needs to be shut down. People who say " how revolting they find LGBT+ people (pa...