Lara Prendergast

The Budget must address the cost of living – especially for the young

The Budget must address the cost of living – especially for the young
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It is ruinous travelling by train these days. Have you tried it? My advice: don’t. Aside from re-nationalising the railways, the Budget could make some gesture of goodwill to the countless people whose entire earnings are being sucked up by our trains. One pal, who isn’t earning much, is commuting from Hampshire to London. It’s costing him around £450 a month – not much when you consider he probably takes home about £800 after tax. For him, I’d like National Railcards available to all those earning under £22,000. I’d also like off-peak train tickets to be fixed at 2/3rds of peak train ticket prices. Other countries have lower priced train travel - why can’t we? 


Interest rates are bound to rise, which will only bring misery to the young people who have bought property using Help to Buy. So I say scrap it. But we need to reduce the cost of housing. Let’s relax our Byzantine planning laws, and increase building projects. It will take more than one ‘garden city’ to solve the problem.

Cost of Living

There’s a pattern emerging here: life is expensive. Fine. But let’s try to help those at the bottom find a bit more stability (and joy) in their lives. I’d want an income tax cut for those earning under £20,000. 20% down to 15% would work. Plus, how about a lower rate of tax on alcohol bought in pubs, compared to shops, to help encourage spending within local communities?

Youth unemployment

Young people in Britain have borne the brunt of the financial crisis, with a larger proportion of 16- to 24-year-olds now out of work than any other age group. The jobless rate is 4.7% among 35- to 49-year-olds, but nearly 36% among 16- to 17-year-olds. Let’s support the young people of this country with tax breaks for young entrepreneurs. Tax breaks for apprentices and companies that support apprentice schemes would also be helpful. I’d also like to see National Insurance abolished for under-21s

On the evening of Wednesday 19 March 2014, Fraser Nelson, James Forsyth and Andrew Neil will be discussing what George Osborne's 2014 budget means. Click here to book tickets.