This week a fantastic new book has been launched which will invigorate debate about youth unemployment and the role of internships in our economy.
The Jilted Generation is a passionate and angry polemic by journalists Ed Howker and Shiv Malik. It looks at housing, jobs, inheritance and how politicians of every party have left this generation of young people with the most uncertain future since the 1930s.
And on page 91 it mentions this blog. Our parents are very pleased and shall be receiving copies for Christmas.
While the possession of second and holiday homes continues to rise among baby boomers, home ownership is now an almost impossible dream for many younger people.
In 1990, eight per cent of home owners were under 25, and 43 per cent were aged between 25 and 34. Young people, in other words, accounted for more than half of all home-owners.
Twenty years on, however, and it’s a very different picture. Just two per cent of home owners are under 25, and only 27 per cent are aged 25-34.
This decline in home-owning, exacerbated by a lack of social housing, means that large numbers of young people are forced into the private rental sector, where charges are exorbitant and security of tenure weak.
Alternatively, they have to live with their parents. Indeed, in 2009, 29 per cent of men and 18 per cent of women aged 20 to 34 were still inhabiting the family home.
Moreover, fundamental changes in the world of work mean that the jilted generation also suffers from lower pay, greater insecurity and fewer rights than its predecessors.
Not only has the traditional concept of a ‘job for life’ disappeared, but increasingly fierce competition in the labour market means that many young people are forced to prove their commitment to a prospective employer by working unpaid as so-called ‘interns’.
This is a form of quasi-enslavement that would have been regarded as intolerable in previous eras.
‘You’ve never had it so good,’ Harold Macmillan famously said of the new consumer society at the end of the Fifties.
Half a century later, those words could hardly have a more hollow ring for Britain’s youth. We are the losers on every front. The promised land has been drowned in a flood of debt and despair. And we will be paying the price for many decades to come.