Dear Mr George Osborne,
I graduate next week (with an immense amount of debt already) and I'm currently job seeking. I've signed up to JSA (Job Seekers Allowance) and signed up for Housing Benefit meaning that part of my rent will be covered whilst I'm temporarily unemployed. However, George, today I heard that you'll be cutting Housing Benefit for young people - because it'll 'do us good' and will be taking away maintenance grants for undergrads. So let's think about this logically, George; I'll be graduating at the same time as a hell of a lot of other people and I live in Hull, one of the worst places for employment in the country. So whilst I'm job seeking - which I assure you, George, I apply for most jobs I see, graduate and non-graduate - my rent will be partly covered by the government, because let's face it, situations like mine are why the benefits system was created, of course not only for this reason, but I feel my claim is justified.
So, George, when these new policies come into place and a recent graduate is job hunting, should they apply for an apprenticeship? This is one of the things you're telling young people they should be doing after all. Well, George, most graduates are too old to be considered for paid apprenticeships and considered over qualified, so that rules that one out. Should they apply for another degree course and spend another 3 years as an undergrad again? (Because a masters isn't an option as it costs a fortune and there's no funding for it) or would that be a waste of time? Just having two degrees for the sake of it, just because they're scared they won't immediately find full time employment and won't be able to cover their rent? No, I don't think that's a sensible or realistic option. Do you?
So then what now? Should they take a zero hours contract? Or by a miracle if they were to get a non-grad job pretty quickly, should they be expected to survive on minimum wage? (Not living wage, George, because you don't think we deserve that. Our rent must be cheaper than an older persons? We must eat less or not need to travel as much?) Yes, that could be our best bet.
But George, what if we don't get that miracle job? We can't claim Housing Benefit because we're young, but we have a degree and we're employable. What are the options? Get into rent arrears? Be given our notice? Become squatters? Or... Become homeless. Yes, George, if we don't have a family or any kind of safety net then that's exactly what will happen. Then we can't apply for jobs because we can't afford a phone, we don't have wifi and we have no fixed abode.
What then? What would you do, George?
A recent, disillusioned, Labour-voting graduate.