Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Middle Age...

And no, I don't mean the point in the middle of birth and death... But "The Middle Age", I mean the bit between 26 and 45 when you no longer qualify for any money saving offers. At 26, you are no longer considered a "young person" with the needs that being "young" extends to you... In the ten years between 16 and 26 you become entitled to a wealth of "help you on your way" offers, travel concessions and of course if you're that way inclined, the obligatory student discount. Not to mention, if you are unlucky/lucky enough to get "up the spout" (can't think of a better euphemism) at 16, you are furnished with a house for you and said sproglet... (I am aware this makes me sound rather Daily Mail!). And at 45 you are considered to have paid your debt to society, you are considered to be a safer driver and more likely look after yourself so the offers start again. Saga (seems a little ageist to me), free bus passes to the over 60s, free swimming and leisure activities.

I do not propose that these schemes should stop, but it does seem as though those of us with the most responsibility, be it financial, family or work related, are paying the most (an in real terms the most any generation has).

I suppose the government expects that you will have more experience, or education and so better job prospects... But, when the price of petrol stands at £1.28/litre (avg), wages have dropped (in realistic terms) for six consecutive years (Mervyn King) and earning power has to be above £50,000/year to get onto the property ladder... why can't we have some little treats? Maybe... 5p/litre off petrol if you are between 26 and 55, or a voucher for free city centre travel for people who work? Or I know... How about free gym memberships? That would save the government money in the long term as we'll all grow up to be fit and healthy!

But no... We, the people in the Middle Age are stuck paying full price for the things we need (petrol, food, work clothes). We are unable to get on the property ladder thanks to the Baby Boomers who bought up all the property in the early 2000's. We are unable to get social housing thanks to the ghost of Maggie T and her bid to make Britain a nation of property owners. We are unable to rent a house or flat from a private landlord within an hour's drive of where we actually work thanks to rocketing rental rates in city centres. And then there's the student debts, handed down to the leaders of tomorrow by the leaders of yesterday who all studied for free, at the expense of the tax payer and paid 50p for a pint, (they seem to forget, we're the ones who'll be controlling the nursing care system in 40 years!)

Ok, rant over. I'm not saying we should be living a charmed life where everything's perfect and the figures are always going up (the 80s are over), but come on David, Nick and Co, give us a break! Be it a tax break, some sort of reward scheme for us responsible types who feel we will never acheive what our parents have, or something as simple as a low price housing scheme for those in the Middle Age who work but don't have children? For it is those of us in this Middle Age who will feel the drop in living standards hardest of all, as a glass ceiling stopping us from taking that next step to a life where we can get to next payday still in the black.

Is that too much to ask?

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