Yet Again, Students Are the Target of This ‘Conservative’ Government’s Punishment | William Hallowell

As if the Government’s National Insurance hike wasn’t enough penalisation for graduates, it plans to lower the threshold for which we will be begin to repay university debt.

When the Conservatives announced their plans to increase National Insurance by 1.25%, the media and public immediately rushed to make the social class argument – the decision was made to be another example of the Tories waging war on the working-class. What was and is overlooked, however, is the war being waged against young people – and particularly students – as a result of the pandemic.

As if young people have not paid enough socially over the last eighteen months or so, and as if we won’t be paying enough for this fiscally over the next few decades, the Government made a decision that will disproportionally and unfairly affect young earners – particularly university graduates. Under its current plans to increase National Insurance contributions, earners of up to £2o,000 a year stand to lose £130, which of course grossly affects the working-class, but also young people.

Students and young people have been treated appallingly over the course of the pandemic: from being made scapegoats, to the Government unashamedly punishing us by restricting our social lives and freedoms, to lack of action over the greedy opportunity for student exploitation by our institutions of Higher Education – not to mention its inability and reluctance to wade in on the free speech impediments on campuses – we have been let down and neglected.

There is now little to no reason for graduates to vote Conservative, and on top this the Government now plans to cut the threshold at which graduates will begin to pay back their debt – as though a broken maintenance loan system and extortionately high tuition fees for the questionable quality of education received – with particular reference to the pandemic – weren’t enough reasons to consider the pros and cons of going to university. It is unforgiveable, really; what’s worse is the lack of representation for young people from any other party in the Westminster bubble.

The Labour Party are too pre-occupied with in-fighting and fanning the flames of the identity and culture war; the Lib Dems are essentially doing nothing but moaning about Brexit (though this is another affliction of the Labour Party); and although Reform UK have somewhat been a voice for students with their “Stop the Student Rip-off” campaign, it essentially led to nothing and they don’t have a single seat in the Commons, so they’re useless too.

No party and nobody represents students or young people. We have collectively been castigated the most by effectively everybody: from Westminster, to the media and to the public; we are the generation that has been treated the worst throughout the pandemic (with little financial or social support), the generation who will inevitably pay the most (again, both fiscally and socially) and the generation that has been vilified the most.

Politically, it makes little sense for the Government to pursue these policies that directly and deliberately punish young Brits – particularly when rumours circulate that the Prime Minister plans to call a snap-election; he certainly won’t have a large amount of young support. At this point, one wonders whether this ‘Conservative’ Party is any better than the Labour Party, or the Liberal Democrats, or any other political party so indulged in the Westminster bubble that they assumedly couldn’t care about the social, economic or political repercussions that their policies might have on younger people.

Photo Credit.

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