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Oct
2013
Friday 25th
posted by Morning Star in Features

BERNADETTE HORTON has four children and assisting them in securing a future through education and work is as frustrating as it is desperate. She has a bone to pick with the Prime Minister


My second eldest son is 21. Here where we live on the north Wales coast many people suffer unemployment out of the tourist season.

So after seeing my son struggle to find work and get ground down by employment agencies which would send him to the doors of factories for "ghost jobs," I advised him to go back to college.

He is doing an access-to-university course for one year, followed by three years at uni. He will be 25 by then.

Although he has managed to find weekend bar work to help with transport and materials, he will still need support from me and his dad.

David Cameron is almost word perfect on "doing the right thing" - "go to school, go to college, go to university, get a job, buy a flat."

Life is certainly not allowed to get in the way of his idyll. He makes no mention of already stressed parents having to support adult children.

We are happy to help our son find a route out of low-paid, zero-hours contracts and agency work, but we know it is putting an enormous strain on our stretched family finances.

And with our younger sons who both want to go to university in two and three years' time respectively, we wonder just how we will struggle to support them all. There is no help for parents.

Child benefit will end, but we will still have substantial costs in order to help our children out, and as we are the "working poor," I wonder how we will manage.

My son's friend is in a low-paid zero-hours contract factory job and combines this with a bar job midweek.

My son works weekends. They could not afford a suit and shoes for interview each, so as they are of the same build and shoe size they bought a suit and shoes between them.

The shoes are worn by my son at weekends and then handed over to his friend midweek. The suit is passed for occasions and any upcoming interviews.

I must admit to a few laughs when I heard of the arrangement. Some friends on Twitter congratulated their thinking over the deal.

I then reflected and wondered how had we got to a point where two young men, in Cameron's own words, "struggling to do the right thing" had come to this. Sharing a suit and shoes. It's 2013 not 1946.

But for many young adults of this generation whose parents are not well off and are struggling to pay their own bills and keep a roof over their heads, this is the reality.

Cameron has ominously pledged to stop all housing benefit for under-25s if elected in 2015.

Of the Tories' own admission they haven't worked out how to "deal" with 169,000 single parents living alone aged under 25.

We don't all live in a society where all can go to school, uni, get a well-paid job, get a flat. This is only on planet Tory. Why should young adults, who may have low-paid jobs and who perhaps may consider marriage at 23 or 24 and need a small percentage of their rent paid in housing benefit, be denied a life?

Robber baron landlords are permitted to charge extortionate rents, denying young people the chance of a roof over their heads.

 

The Tories have brought in market rents for council and housing association homes too, which in some areas are out of the range of affordability for those on minimum wage.

Cameron is saying to parents - you have no choice, you must keep your adult children supported until they are in their mid-twenties.

Many parents will do this, but many won't be able to. The outcome will be soaring homelessness and family life being put under increasing stress.

My eldest son is 24 and he lives in a rented house with his partner. They both work full time in care homes for the elderly.

I am so proud of my son, who has qualifications in health and social care and believes passionately in making the lives of older people rewarding.

If anyone is "doing the right thing" my son and his partner are.

But they are paying £750 per month to a greedy landlord for a tiny two-bed house.

They "do not earn enough" to get a mortgage. Yet they are forking out a fortune every month, so how can they possibly save? Where is the help for them, Mr Cameron?

They can't afford to save up the 5 per cent deposit required under his Help to Buy scheme. They are on minimum wage and wouldn't qualify anyway.

Yet they do a job that the vast percentage of the population would refuse to do and they do it well.

If anyone deserves a living wage people like this do.

In his speech to the Tory faithful at conference Cameron asked the electorate to let him "finish the job."

For the sake of our young adults and the next generation, don't let him.

Or he will finish many jobs for many people and throw Generation Rent onto the scrap heap - the first generation to be far worse off than their parents.




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