Dear Mr Cameron, Mr Clegg and the Coalition,
I am writing to you on behalf of those who have gained and those who have lost under the last government, the first of its kind in the UK. With its term drawing to a close we wish you a farewell, some fond, some definitely not.
Young people in particular have much to be grateful for. The term began with the unpopular move of increasing tuition fees. Students now have to pay three times as much for the same degree in a new system that will actually cost the taxpayer more. While thankfully this has not dampened potential students’ desire for a degree, nonetheless it is saddling them with unprecedented levels of debt just as they are beginning their careers and their lives.
To add to this, the changes in housing benefit brought in by the Coalition in April 2013 have been a great cause for concern and combined with other such well-thought out policies such as the ‘spare room subsidy limits’ for social sector tenants, widely know as the bedroom tax, now a full 8% of under 25year-olds have been homeless and this number is rising (see here further reading for full details). For those who cannot afford their own place, the housing benefit was a helpful extra to keep them off the streets. Now, to add insult to injury, many find they cannot return to their parents’ home because of the tax on spare bedrooms. In a country already facing a housing crisis, this is interesting policy-making.
Meanwhile, the country as a whole must also congratulate the Coalition. The government has brought us dangerously close to a broken Britain, as they almost sleepwalked into an independent Scotland with the Scottish lack of enthusiasm for the Union at unparalleled lows. At the same time on the international stage, the Tories have been running headlong in a British exit (or Brexit) from the European Union as fast as they can possibly manage, despite warnings from all corners, including their coalition partners, about the negative impact such an exit would inevitably have. It is impressive that the Coalition has managed to damage relations not only outside the UK but within as well.
The Coalition has been very efficient in its four-year term, and its achievements are numerable and wide-ranging. There are also policies it has enacted for which we should be grateful- free school meals, for example. However, it cannot be denied that many have lost out during the Coalition’s term. Those who have particularly suffered, as mentioned above, are young people, the under-25 year olds. This demographic must not become a generation invisible to politicians and risk facing further damaging policies. Through the use of grass-roots democracy and that all-important voting slip, young people need not write another thank you letter like this one.
By Alex Campbell, Junior Writer for Daily Political View.
– Crisis Report 2013: http://www.crisis.org.uk/data/files/publications/HomelessnessMonitorEngland2013.pdf