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there's never been a worse time to be young and British, your screwed if your under 30

(319 Posts)
lhldn Tue 18-Nov-14 10:12:44

OK the title is taken from a torygraph article, but I do find myself agreeing with it and being sad for the next generation.
We’re all becoming depressingly familiar with the results of these policies. The single worst (and most easily grasped) problem is housing. Our housing market has become an in-and-out club. If you’re over 50, in addition to your primary residence, you may well own a couple of buy-to-lets which will augment your already well-upholstered pension. If you’re under 30, you’re screwed.

If you’re under 30 in London, you’re super-screwed. You’ll be in your 40s before you’ve saved enough to buy a dump in Catford. And even then it’s likely that you’ll be outbid by a buy-to-let investor or, increasingly and tragically, refused a mortgage because you’re too old.

A long list of policies across three very different governments has got us here. The “one off” sale of council houses to make us all Tories in the 1980s - over two million homes that went cheap, often criminally cheap. The bottom three rungs cut off the ladder, the proceeds pocketed and the houses never replaced. Even so, property was still cheap back then – and if the housing market was anything like a free market, we might still be alright.

However, for all their devotion to the free market, our leaders have shown no interest in allowing the housing market to function this way. Rather, each year, we build a tiny fraction of what is needed ensuring prices march endlessly upwards. We have no coherent national housing plan. Our planning system is a mess. We have artificially low interest rates. We sell homes off-plan to foreign investors and don’t build enough to house the immigrants who are vital to our economy. The result is an cruelly dysfunctional market – and one which works brilliantly for your parents.

In tandem with this, over the last few years we’ve done a great job of increasing the wage gap between age groups. Guess who low wages hurt? Not people in their 50s and 60s. In fact, they actually help older people as they as more likely to be investors and employers. So, there’s no house for you, but the people who vote can afford a cleaner for their holiday home.

Housing is the most pressing problem

lhldn Tue 18-Nov-14 10:13:36

Sorry link didn't work but its from the men's section in telegraph

ClawHandsIfYouBelieveInFreaks Tue 18-Nov-14 10:14:16


ilovesooty Tue 18-Nov-14 10:19:06

I'm sure people under 30 are allowed to vote.
I agree with quite a lot of this but I'm over 50, I've been screwed over by divorce and no longer own my own property. Not all older people are comfortably off.

LurkingHusband Tue 18-Nov-14 10:21:10

For some reason I'm remembering a Paul Simon lyric ... "every generation throws a hero up the pop charts" ...

That said, it's hard to escape (I'm 48) a pervading sense of decay, almost everything is going backwards ... it's like there's a 70s revival of whole families trying live on £5 a week, power cuts looming, terrorist threats (allegedly) and Dads Army pick of the day on Saturday.

However, I'm a great believer in nature, and nature has a way of correcting imbalance.

bletheringboys Tue 18-Nov-14 10:21:35

I've been saying this for years. My generation have been SCREWED I tell you - SCREWED!
I have been met at every turn of my life with huge brick walls as soon as I think I have cleared them.

Go to Uni they said - so I did. Graduated in 2008 just as the jobs market plummeted.

Can't buy a house - no real hope of one any time soon either.
DH and I have absolutely tried our hardest for a decent job - we took ages to get jobs which are actually school leavers jobs in the job descriptions, despite us both being very qualified (both have degrees, professional qualifications, years of experience and training).

I can't progress in my public sector job because no funding, whereas previous folk in my post were given accreditation, training and support. I will be stuck at part time on a basic wage for as long as they want me to stay like that.

Every time we jump through the hoop, they make another one and raise it even higher. It's torture!

TaliZorahVasNormandy Tue 18-Nov-14 10:22:20

Not just under 30, I'm 31 and fucked, still cant find a job, no hope of a pension and no hope of owning my own home.

EEVEElution Tue 18-Nov-14 10:22:21

Under 30 and live in outer London here, can't afford to buy anything. Planning on emigrating to DH's home country!

angelos02 Tue 18-Nov-14 10:24:44

What would your solution be re the housing situation? (I agree with your post by the way). I think we need to massively tax second homes. Also need to (somehow) stop people not living in UK (especially London) from snapping up all new housing stock. If we don't do something about that, it doesn't matter if millions of homes are built, the people that need them won't be able to afford them.

TaliZorahVasNormandy Tue 18-Nov-14 10:25:08

Emigrating is a dream of mine, if I won enough money, I'd be like dust in the wind.

Abra1d Tue 18-Nov-14 10:27:33

I do feel very sorry for under-30s, but it's not true that all older people are selfish. We have paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to our children over the last decade, towards education, driving lessons, cars, qualifications that will help them get jobs. We live in a smaller house than we would like because of this and live modestly, frequently going without things we would like so that we can help our children instead. My parents also give our children money because they recognise what has happened.

The only thing we will not compromise on is keeping a nest-egg for ourselves that is emergency medical care money, in case we need treatment the NHS won't pay for, having had bitter experience of this with other family members.

Callani Tue 18-Nov-14 10:28:16

Under 30 and the only reason I've managed to buy is because I'm in a relatively undesirable town in Yorkshire and have generous grandparents who I am slowly paying back. I am under no delusion that I am incredibly lucky to have managed to find a decent paying job in a cheap area as well as being fortunate that my family have a small amount of money.

I have friends who are far more talented, intelligent and dedicated than I am who are stuck in low paying jobs in high cost areas with no escape. Most of these people save up slowly each month only to lose it all again once they are forced out at the end of a 12 month tenancy and have to pay the next set of deposits, upfront rent, agency fees, reference fees etc.

FluffyMcnuffy Tue 18-Nov-14 10:29:18

Well I personally haven't been screwed (under 30, professional job, mortgage) but I know a lot that have sad.

I will get flamed for this but I found it relatively easy to get a job (in 2010) and not too difficult to get a reasonable mortgage without having extensive savings, I think a lot of that is due to the area I live in and an awful lot of luck! However if the property market crashes I'm screwed!

stubbornstains Tue 18-Nov-14 10:30:31

That's a very insightful OP.

I will offer a grain of hope though - this older generation won't be around forever. Although I think we genuinely do have a housing shortage that will continue, as the population is growing, it is exacerbated by an entire generation of retired couples rattling around in 3 bedroom houses. In 20 years' time they'll be dying off/ going into care homes, and the market will be flooded with cheap (er) family homes. Which will be good news for our kids I suppose, if not us.

Ragwort Tue 18-Nov-14 10:33:40

I am over 50 and whilst I do think times are tough for many people these days it is not just the under 30s who suffer.

Really, how many over 50s own their own house and a 'couple of buy to lets' as well - a very small minority might. hmm

My friend is in her 50s, living in a bedsit, can't get a job. Very few employers will take on over 50s. I am 'lucky' as I have just found myself a job - barely over the minimum wage grin.

There are many, many older people scraping by on non existant pensions, being treated like third class citizens and too proud to access any benefits they might be entitled to. sad.

gamingmum Tue 18-Nov-14 10:33:40

Kind of disagree as life to a point is what you make of it and how hard you work for it, no good can come of bemoaning your lot and expecting someone else to fix it for you.

I'm 27, worked since 18 without going to uni and have worked my way up job roles in London. I grew up in a council flat and knew that was not where I wanted to spend the rest of my life. Had a flat by 20 and now have a house with disposable income. This was possible by spending the beginning years saving every spare bit of money going. I didn't live rent free with the parents.

Of my group of school friends they all managed to find roles in London within their desired sector that they trained for. One owns a flat near Euston, with no help from his parents who could not afford it, and another a house in a lovely part of Kent.

chasingtherainbow Tue 18-Nov-14 10:33:55


Mid 20s, no hope of owning. We rent our house for a huge chunk of money pm. Our house is owned by a couple in early 40s who bought young, house is worth loads more than what they paid now.. and they now live in a nice house for free because his parents can live in the annex, of the house they own outright.

We just keep plodding month to month, saving what we can. Clawing ourselves back from the brick walls we seemingly hit constantly like a previous poster said. It's tiring and I worry for us as a family and for my children's future

TheChandler Tue 18-Nov-14 10:33:59

Suspect wartime/The Great Depression were worse but you do have a point OP in that the preceding generations had it the best and screwed it up. Tuition fees and student loans being just one example. And at least the younger generation have more access to consumer goods and cars to make them feel better about it all.

Chalalala Tue 18-Nov-14 10:34:45

Abra1d, no one is saying older people are selfish, they've just taken the opportunities that were given to them (better jobs/cheaper housing/better pensions), as anyone else would. It's the system that sucks, not the people in the system.

And the older generation's generosity towards their children if perfectly understandable on the individual level (I'd do the same thing), but at the macro level it creates more problems than it solves, since all it does it nurture the inequality of opportunities plaguing the younger generations - if you have parents doing well you can afford internships, training, house deposits, but if you don't you're screwed.

I agree that a huge tax on second homes would help.

Abra1d Tue 18-Nov-14 10:36:42

Also, were we expected, back in the 1980s, to somehow 'know' what global economic conditions would be like in 30 years' time and refuse to buy houses or have pensions because future generations would suffer?

Economists and governments couldn't predict it, so how was I supposed to work out, when buying my first flat aged 24, that I would be somehow preventing someone else from buying one 30+ years later?

LordEmsworth Tue 18-Nov-14 10:39:30

I am loving the idea that all people in their 50s and 60s are investors and employers, with cleaners, so don't need to worry at their low wages. (I am a lot closer to 30 than 50 btw.)

Also, not being able to get a mortgage in your 50s is not "tragic". Having your home repossessed in retirement is getting there but still unlikely to lead to tragedy.

I am not saying any of this isn't a horrible situation. I am saying that that Paul Simon lyric is ringing very true; I don't remember the 70s/early 80s but by all accounts, the under 30s (along with a lot of over 50s) were pretty screwed over then, too...

specialsubject Tue 18-Nov-14 10:40:44

if you are over 18 you can vote.

London needs to stop all those houses being bought by people who don't live there any being left to rot. Doesn't happen in Paris, due to a different legal/tax system (Not sure what)

emigrate away, but if you find the paradise of which you think let us know. Australia is expensive and you can't just walk in.

I agree that selling off the council houses was entirely wrong. It is still happening.

BarbarianMum Tue 18-Nov-14 10:43:20

Not sure I agree. My children are still young so getting the benefit of a really good education (I'm constantly amazed at how much better the education they get is compared with what I received in the 1970s). If they fall sick then health care is better (yes NHS is under huge strain but I remember the cronic shortage of beds all through the 1980s). Materially they are vastly better off.

Housing. Not sure about that one but as long as they stay up north I think they can aspire to owning a house, even if they need to let a room for a while to pay the mortgage. Dh and I (independantly) moved out of the SE in our early 20s due to the cost of living -this is not new and there is life beyond London.

Jobs market. If they can't secure themselves work being well educated, bright and being fortunate enough to be born male in one of the world's richest countries then frankly they get no sympathy from me. I may have had it easier, but my grandparent struggled through 2 world wars and the depression of the 1930s and my parents are immigrants so I think I'm just the lucky statistical blip. Emigration will likely be a possibility for them too.

Climate Change. This is the big one, with huge ramifications (none of which is good). Don't envy them this at all but suspect it will actually be their children who are screwed by it.

Chalalala Tue 18-Nov-14 10:45:17

Unfortunately I think it's a constant feature of democratic politics that the people who don't vote are the people who feel screwed over by the system, and the people who do vote are the people with interests to protect.

Not saying it's right or that it makes sense...

morethanpotatoprints Tue 18-Nov-14 10:46:38

Every generation thinks they have it worse than the previous generation and in some instances there are huge discrepancies.
However, every generation seems to benefit from things that previous generations couldn't.
I have 2 young adult dc who are striving to get on the property ladder, I know it isn't easy for them but they are sensible enough to know you need to play the game and although they will be older than my generation when they finally buy a house, they will manage sooner than those who don't play the game.
It was difficult for us when starting out, but we cut our cloth accordingly and did without any none essentials at all. We got there in the end.
Life isn't ideal but you have to go with what you have, not what you would like in an ideal world.

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