Cost-of-living crisis: Young people's independence and futures are at risk
Coming into the world of independence for many young people is no longer exciting, but terrifying.
Flying the nest is usually a very emotional venture and one many young people look forward to in their quest for independence and self-sufficiency.
Yet, as wings expand for lift off, I cannot help, but think about the tragic fate of Icarus who flew too close to the sun to meet his demise when I think of many young people opening their first ever bills.
This time round, however, it is not vaulting ambition or melting wax that is the recipe for this Greek tragedy, but instead a cost-of-living crisis that is dampening the hopes for first flat purchases and, well, the flat itself.
Perhaps the biggest squeeze on young Scots’ budgets this year will be the extortionate hike in gas and electricity prices. They’re set to increase today by an average of 54 per cent across the UK. This means the average person will see their bills £693 more expensive than last year. In that one change, I see my own hopes of getting out the rental market and into the buying one fade away.
It is not simply this disadvantage we young hopefuls face. Council tax (with Shetland the only exception), national insurance and VAT will rise, with house prices also expected to increase in April. Even a letter to your granny from your new pad will suffer a blow with stamp prices increasing.
For young people who perhaps have started their first job and are already on low salaries, these cuts are so mighty they might not take the jump to freedom now.
Instead, they will continue to live with parents if they are fortunate to even have that choice. Some of my friends who, like myself, are lucky to have the cushion of a familial roof over their heads, say they feel trapped in a childhood they want to leave to embrace adulthood. These are people in their mid-20s to their mid-30s caught in limbo and they are the lucky ones.
Some young people may be left homeless and others may meet an upsetting fate too close to the actuality of Icarus.
But we are not asking for the sun, we are asking for a future.
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.