What do you call a 33 year old who still lives with their parents?

What do you call a 33 year-old who still lives with their parents?

No, this isn’t the start of a bad joke. Instead, this is the reality for many people, including myself.

Six years ago, I moved out of my parents’ house with my then wife and into a three-bedroom end of terrace house. I was working full-time on a salary significantly lower than the average, while she was working ad-hoc as a supply teacher.

It was tight for us financially, but we made it work, just about. How? The house we moved into was bought by my granddad in 1955 and, by the time we moved in, it was owned by my dad and my aunt. We were paying rent, obviously, but it was considerably lower than the market rate.

When my ex-wife left, I took in a lodger to make ends meet. When my dad and aunt’s circumstances changed and they sold the house in 2021, I moved back in with my parents because I could not afford a place of my own. Since then, my salary has increased by almost one-third (through job changes, not employer pay rises), but it is still significantly below the average and I still cannot afford to buy or rent a place of my own.

Today, Conference will be asked to debate and vote on a new housing policy.

There is a certain irony in the party establishment standing before a banner of “for a fair deal”, while simultaneously proposing the removal of an ambitious – yet still insufficient – national housing target.

Who is that a fair deal for?

It’s certainly not a fair deal for people like me who already cannot afford to buy or rent on the open market. The policy can talk all it likes about rent controls, etc., but the simple fact is the market is driven by supply and demand. Restrict supply while demand continues to grow and the cost of buying or renting will continue to become less and less affordable.

Removing a housing target agreed by conference only two years ago does little more than pander to NIMBYs, people who are comfortable in houses they often own or rent, built on land that was once green.

For a party that once courted the youth and student vote, we haven’t always covered ourselves in glory. We turned our back on young people in government over tuition fees. I would argue the effect of this policy on young people will be considerably more profound than the rise in tuition fees.

This is my first in-person conference, and I have been juggling a competing list of auditorium, fringe and training events, alongside staffing the LGBT+ Liberal Democrats’ exhibition stall. On day one, I managed to attend one policy debate (and speak for the first time at conference).

But, come hell or high water, I will be in the auditorium at 2.40pm to vote in favour of Amendment One. If Amendment One passes, I will then vote in favour of the policy as a whole. If Amendment One fails, I will vote against the policy as a whole.

A housing policy that does not include an ambitious housebuilding target is unsustainable, and I would urge everyone to join me and many, many others in voting for a housing policy that actually works for my generation and beyond!

* Alan Collins Rosell is a blogger and treasurer of the Medway local party.

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  • Martin Gray 25th Sep '23 - 7:31am

    As an e.g….What do you call a 55 year old bloke stuck on a council house waiting list, working for the mw on a zero hour contract at some faceless warehouse on the outside of town doing a triple shift …Long gone are the industries they use to work in …That’s the reality for many living in post industrial towns…. Poor housing , insecure work is the norm …

  • Sandy Smith 25th Sep '23 - 8:01am

    Targets, in of themselves, are totally meaningless. What we need are commitments. So, ‘we will build 500,000 affordable houses over the next parliament’ is a clear promise to deliver – but ‘we have a target of seeing 500,000 affordable houses built’ is totally worthless and fools nobody.

  • There are many levels to this, one of which is around expectations and “status”. I get the impression that Alan feels returning to live with his parents is some form of failure, failing to appreciate that his situation would not have been out of place in relatively recent times. Also changing jobs has been and is the main way to increase pay, the fact Alan has so significantly increased his pay is a good sign he has skills and can present them in way people want to buy.

    Turning to housing, we do need to think whether the way the market currently operates with a bias towards personal ownership and increasingly towards property value speculation, is one we wish to continue. For example, comparing todays accommodation market with say the 1930s through to the early 1960s, and there is marked decline in the supply of “lodgings” but a marked increase in single person households. Likewise we have to look at demand and decide whether it is “real” or whether people are going to have modify their expectations.

    And yes, I live in house built on land my partner rode a horse across when they were a child, just as the fields I walked my dogs across and had “adventures in” were built on decades back. I am acutely aware my children have had a much impoverished upbringing because of all the development of the last 50 years. So yes the politicians can shout about the ever increasing GDP, but our quality of life has massively gone down.

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