Hammond’s budget shows that the Tories are clearly frightened by the surge in support for Labour amongst young people.
Hammond’s budget was no omnishambles. In political strategy terms, the 2017 autumn budget was an overall set of reasonably sensible moves, but it does show that the Conservative party recognises that Labour is on the offence, and that young people are crucial to the formation of a future Labour government.
Evidently, Hammond’s moves are a somewhat cynical attempt to woo the young. Here are five ways his budget will affect young people.
1. Stamp duty
The change in stamp duty for first time buyers was a surprise that will comfort young first-time buyers seeking reasonably price homes. According to the BBC, first-time buyers purchasing homes for less than £300,000 will pay no stamp duty in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. It remains to be seen whether Scotland follows suit.
However, the OBR has suggested that the removal of stamp duty will result in an increase in house prices in response to the change, as reported by the Guardian.
2. "Millennial" Rail cards
At present, individual’s aged 16-25 can purchase a rail card that gets them a third off rail fares. In a clear signal that the Conservatives are trying to reach out to young workers, the card is being extended to those up to the age of 30, according to the BBC.
3. The income tax threshold
It’s not a major change, but the increase in the threshold at which individuals pay income tax will result in additional disposable income for young people on low wages at the start of their career.
4. New education funding
According to the BBC, the government is making additional investments in education in England. Schools will receive additional funding for getting students to continue their studying maths in later school years, and £84m is being invested in computer science education.
5. The so-called National Living Wage increase
Also in the budget was the announcement that the so-called National Living Wage is increasing.
While this is good news for those aged over 25, the so-called NLW is not law for those under the age of 25, something that hardly helps young people who left school at 16 to work. Furthermore, the NLW continues not to reflect the actual Living Wage as calculated by the Living Wage Foundation, which currently stands at £8.75 in most of the UK, and £10.20 in London.
Overall, the Conservatives are making moves to help young people, and while some of the changes in the budget will make a difference, the party has a long way to go to meet the demands of many of Britain’s young voters.