altIt was brought up in PMQs this week that British youths are the unhappiest in Europe. 1 in 3 eleven year olds are illiterate and record numbers are turning to drink and anti-depressants. Also, it is this generation who are now going to be forced to pay off the colossal government debt. The story is very negative, but politicians are making it worse, intent on blaming the youth for the state’s failings. Instead, the youth need to be encouraged and made productive rather than demonized and disincentivized.

The welfare state is failing the youth as this story shows. It focuses on a seventeen year old who drinks a litre of vodka a day, spending her £47 per week benefits on alcohol (that must be cheap and nasty vodka!). This is clear evidence that a benefit culture has reached an excessive level in the UK. The 17 year old in the article does not work or attend school – but then why bother when the state will give you free money to spend on whatever you like, illegal or not.

It is immoral that the government can tax hard working individuals in order to encourage the illegal drinking of others. This sends out signals to younger citizens that it is acceptable to expect the right to be bailed out by the state if they don’t fancy working. This is clearly counterproductive towards society; if there is no incentive for young people to work or go into further education, that demographic of the economy will stagnate – making the process of paying off Gordon Browns debt gloomier than ever.

Younger generations are the lifeline of our future economy. Currently the government seems to underestimate their importance, seeing them as scapegoats for their failings in education and burdens on the labour market; set them free and see the benefits they can bring to society.