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Young & Skint: ‘Generation Rent’ Suffers Wages Drop

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Since the 2010 General Election earnings for those under 30 have fallen by roughly 10%, according to the House of Commons library, leading to the rise of ‘Generation Rent’. So what about earnings for the rest of the population?

In the period since the Coalition Government came to power earnings for 18-21 year olds have fallen by 10.3%, whilst 22-29 year olds saw their weekly wages drop by 9.4%, according to research by the House of Commons library.

Chris Leslie, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, highlighted these figures as he warned that neglecting young people would put Britain’s future prosperity at risk.

“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 said.

“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.

Leslie’s speech comes as part of Labour’s summer campaign The Choice, which aims to set out how the party will raise the national standard of living if it wins the 2015 General Election. As part of their campaign, Leslie said, “The next Labour government should establish a UK advisory forum on the under-35s to assess the impact of policy on generation rent and improve co-ordination 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.”

Priti Patel, the Treasury Exchequer Secretary, said in response to Leslie’s claims that the Labour Party had no right to talk about living standards.

“In government they wrecked the economy,” she said.

“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.

A separate report has lent support to Patel’s claim, finding that wages nationwide are beginning to rise. Whilst salaries across the country are still lower than they were before the 2008 recession, XpertHR have found that the number of pay freezes has fallen due to a small but definite rise in wages across the private sector, with the manufacturing and production industries in particular seeing salary increases as the year has gone on.

These findings coincide with the Adzuna Job Market Report, which found that advertised starting salaries have risen by 0.9% in the year leading to June 2014, despite a 1.6% contraction in London alone.

These two reports suggest that standards of living are starting to rise with the economy; an inference that will make Labour’s choice much harder for the country come the 2015 election.

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