Owen Jones, The Guardian:
A decade ago, the banks and their powerful allies tipped much of the western world into crisis. They were never going to pay for it: in Britain, a Conservative party they kept financially afloat has made sure of it. The richest 1,000 families resident in Britain – bankers and financiers among them – have more than doubled their net worth during an era of austerity and stagnating living standards. Instead, the crisis would be paid for with the future of an entire generation, not least youngsters from working-class backgrounds.
Consider the full gamut of this government’s impact on young people. The scrapping of the educational maintenance allowance, a small amount of money to support aspirational young working-class people, and the trebling of university fees. The decimation of youth services: in London alone, 81 youth clubs and council youth projects have been cut since 2011, and a real-terms cut on children and youth services of nearly a billion pounds in just six years. A generation driven into an unregulated, rip-off private rental sector, lacking basic security, dependent on their landlords’ whims. The explosion of insecure jobs, at a time when living standards for young people have fallen most steeply. It is a list as incriminating as it is long.
At the fag-end of the last Tory government in 1997, Britain was a creaking mess, with leaking school roofs and a crumbling health service. The Labour government’s consequent investment was necessary, albeit undermined by marketisation and privatisation. In ending a class war that has left Britain’s social infrastructure crumbling, the next Labour government will have to be far more radical in reversing the damage. For all too many, it will be too late.