Discover more from McGST
How will the young survive in the UK in 2022?
In the UK our nurses are currently going through a series of strikes to try to improve their working conditions and their pay. Many (right wing) media outlets appear to have been tasked with running them down and persuading people that these strikes are the reason why the NHS is on its knees. They will occasionally use Covid as a reason as well, and at times Ukraine, but they never mention the +4 million waiting list in the NHS before Covid even occurred. After 12 years of Conservative rule we have an economy and a culture in the UK that is not fit for the young to thrive within. Even worse, there is a good argument that a young person will struggle to get through each day if things do not change quickly.
The Conservatives are doing nothing right. Even in the areas that they claim to represent such as freedom and low taxes they are doing the opposite. High taxes which will go even higher and the ridiculous Online Safety Bill are examples of where this government has lost the plot, and that is on top of destroying the NHS, massively lowering our educational standards and poor performance in almost every public service area from mental health to social care to literally everything else. It is a story of non-success everywhere and yet still they are in power to preside over an environment in which our young cannot survive.
If that sounds like hyperbole please consider the following. A nurse starts out on a salary of £27k/year and with a stinking great University debt because nursing now requires a degree which was ironically introduced under the Labour government in 2009. It was admittedly a much better time and healthcare was in a place where standards could be raised, but such a vocation needing a degree has never dat well with me.
Anyway, we shall forget the £27k starting salary and instead imagine a young person who has gained a much better paid job of £40k/year.
This would bring in net pay of £2,544/month and it is advisable that 12.5% should be used for a pension. This equates to £318/month so our young person is left with £2,226.
The housing market is a nightmare for the young with average house prices at 10 x average salary (was 3x when I was young) and so they are looking at a minimum of £800/month for rent and that would be a small property. Now down to £1,426.
Electric and gas are very expensive currently, and so £350/month is not unreasonable. Now at £1,076.
Some other essential expenses to consider per month: water £25, broadband £25, mobile £20, council tax £160, contents insurance £15 = another £245. Now down to £831.
OK, this young person now need to get to work via their own vehicle or by public transport if they are not very local to work. I have thought of many ways to calculate this part, but have come to approx. £200/month. Whether it is bus or train travel or their own car (fuel, tax, insurance etc) this part varies hugely. But it still remains expensive. Now at £631.
They need to eat and food is very expensive. I believe that £250 is reasonable at a minimum (£60/week) and this would take us to £381 remaining.
Do they need Netflix or some other form of entertainment? Of course they do, we all need to relax now and then so I would gauge minimum subscriptions at £20/month. £361 left.
It is likely that a young person earning £40k/year would have gone to University and this would be above the threshold to start paying it back at 9% of their salary per month. In this case it would be £228/month. £133 left per month.
This £133 is an important number because it is not survivable without a huge amount of stress and worry. Consider having £133 left per month and then add in inflation, interest rate rises, fuel cost increases and a whole host of other factors that are outside of their control. If any of the above occurs the landlord they pay rent to will likely increase the rental charges and so the chance of them running a debt each month is high, way too high to be acceptable in a so called first world country.
And then consider that this is a young person earning a decent salary who in any other time would be considered to be a middle-class part of the economy. It is truly shocking that this person will struggle to survive financially.
The nurse mentioned at the start will qualify on a salary of £27k (£1,820/month)- see the obvious problem? At least they won’t have to pay back her University fees because they have to be earning at least £27,295. Oh hold on, the starting salary for a nurse is £27,055. If they do a few hours of overtime the 9% payback will kick in (£164/month) and this threshold is staying the same next year (another government stealth tax) so if the strikes gain any kind of pay increase the newly qualified nurse will lose more money.
I have made efforts to underestimate the expenses listed above, but please tell me…
How can the young survive, or even attempt to thrive, in the UK in 2022 if they do have assistance from their families through inheritance or financial gifting? You cannot run an economy on handed-down money for long. Things needs to change.
And... I have not even covered the huge swathes of people on minimum wage jobs of which so many are needed to keep the economy and country running. The more I think about it, the more it feels impossible.