The Millennial Manifesto

Several analysts have pointed to what they perceive as unfair treatment of young people in the UK relative to how the population in general is treated. The feeling that insufficient attention is paid to the problems and difficulties they face is reportedly widespread among young people themselves. Some opinion polls have suggested that dissatisfaction among young voters was one of the reasons why the government lost ground in the 2017 General Election, instead of improving their position as they had been widely predicted to do.

Commentators point to the triple lock that state pensioners enjoy, with the promise that their pensions will rise with inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index, or with the growth in average wages, or at 2.5 percent, whichever of these three values is the greatest. They contrast this with the sluggish growth since the Financial Crisis is the wages that non-pensioners have to live on. Indeed, some groups of workers have seen their spending power decline as wage increases have been outstripped by inflation’s price increases.

It has been regarded as a truism by politicians that the older age groups are more likely to vote than their younger counterparts, and that there are also more of them. This has given older people more political clout than that exercised by young people, and is reckoned by some to have caused politicians to pay more attention to the problems and needs of the old than to those of the young.

It is a common complain that ‘the young are being heavily taxed to provide benefits for the old.’ And it is true that tax-supported services are in general used more by the old than by the young. Pensioners receive free travel passes and a winter fuel allowance; the young do not. While young people under 25 can buy a railcard to cut their train costs by a third, senior citizens can enjoy the same privilege, often for a longer period. Institutions that offer discounts to young patrons usually offer similar discounts to senior citizens.

It really does seem to young people that any perks and privileges available to them pale into insignificance compared to those on offer to the elderly. Many of those who say they speak for the young claim that society is tilted against them.

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