5 reasons why the first Conservative Budget for 19 years is disaster if you're under 25

Young people face increased tuition fees, an end to maintenance grants, no access to housing benefit and no increase in minimum wage

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Indy Politics

One group hit hard by George Osborne's Budget was the under-25s, who face higher tuition fees, an end to maintenance grants at university, having to repay their student loans sooner, no more housing benefit and they are not even eligible for the new compulsory national living wage.

1. Tuition fees could go up

Students could face being charged even more than the current record level of £9,000 a year for going to university under Mr Osborne's plans to give institutions that show good quality the power to increase their fees by the level of inflation from 2017/18.

It means students attending the elite group of 24 Russell Group of universities are likely to face a hike in fees.

2. Students won't even get maintenance grants

Mr Osborne's decision to scrap maintenance grants for students from low income families and replacing them with loans will drag poorer students into even more debt.

The fact that Mr Osborne has raised the maximum loan available to students from poor backgrounds to £8,200 will only land them in deeper levels of debt to repay.

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3. Graduates will have to start repaying loans sooner

In addition, the Chancellor announced a five-year freeze on the level at which students start repaying their loans - £21,000 a year. Under an agreement with the Liberal Democrats in the previous Parliament, this figure increased annually in line with inflation.

This means graduates face the prospect of having to pay back their fees sooner.

4. Stripped of housing benefit

Housing benefit will be removed from 18-21-year-olds apart from exceptional circumstances - part of a new so called “earn or learn” obligation.

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5. Not eligible for compulsory living wage

Finally, the biggest boost to low-paid workers for years – the introduction of a compulsory living wage – won’t even apply to those under the age of 25.

It was the headline-grabbing measure of the Budget, which will be introduced next April at a rate of £7.20 an hour and will reach £9 by 2020, but the minimum wage will remain at its current rate of £6.50 an hour for those aged 21-25.

 

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