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People My Age Have Had Their Aspirations Crushed by Austerity - It's Time to Change That

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We know the devastating impact austerity has had on our most vulnerable, but what we don't talk about is how it has resulted in crushed aspirations for a whole generation.

That generation are people my age who went through their twenties and entered their thirties as the global financial crisis gave way to an age of austerity.

Everyone deserves a home and a chance, but too many people my age in Scotland are either living at home with their parents or stuck in expensive rents unable to get that first foot on the property ladder.

Home ownership is a big ambition for hundreds of thousands of Scots, but for too many people my age it remains an ambition rather than a reality.

Instead many remain trapped in a vicious cycle from which there appears to be no escape. They decide to rent to save for a deposit to buy a house, but the rent is too high so they can't save much for a deposit, which means they continue to pay the high rent for years to come.

Under the SNP Government the number of people in Scotland aged 34 and younger who have bought their own home with a mortgage has fallen by 15%. Just 28% of those aged 16-34 in Scotland now own their home with a mortgage - the lowest level since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999.

Politics in Scotland is changing. It's not good enough to simply sit back and accept the consequences of austerity when we can reject it.

That lack of ambition from the SNP Government doesn't add up anymore. It's time for something different.

At the moment you can save in a first time buyer ISA where savers will receive a 25% top up, up to the value of £3,000.

This is welcome of course but still leaves a deposit out of reach for many people.

Under Scottish Labour's plan we will effectively double the help towards saving a deposit for first time buyers, investing an additional £3,000 for first time buyers saving as part of our plan.

This means a person who currently saves through a first-time buyer ISA up to the value of £3,000 would be entitled to an additional £3,000 from a Scottish Labour Government to help toward the cost of a deposit to buy a property. Under this plan, the average couple each saving £100 a month would be able to save for a £15,000 deposit within three years.

We'll fund our promise by reversing the SNP's plans to cut air passenger duty. A tax cut costs money, and we think that money would be better spent helping make the aspirations of young people a reality rather than making a plane ticket cheaper.

Our plan will give young people a leg up onto the housing ladder but also encourages them to save over three years.

The new powers coming to Scotland means we can do things differently. For Scottish Labour that means rejecting austerity. But rejecting austerity means more than protecting Scotland from Tory and SNP cuts but to offer something different and better. To offer what we used to be a given in politics but has been lost in the last few years - the opportunity for young people to turns aspiration and ambition into reality.

Kezia Dugdale is the leader of Scottish Labour and MSP for Edinburgh and Lothian

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