UK Politics

Labour's Ed Miliband warns of 'jilted generation'

David Cameron's claim to be helping young people is being "blown apart" by the coalition's policies, Labour leader Ed Miliband has said.

He criticised the raising of tuition fees and argued that too little help was on offer for first-time buyers.

Mr Miliband warned that government inaction was in danger of creating a "jilted generation".

The government has promised to tackle the "scandal" of youth unemployment, with £60m to boost apprenticeships.

In a speech at the Royal Festival Hall in London, Mr Miliband, who is due to marry his partner in four days' time, said the future prospects of his two sons and their contemporaries were a concern.

He told an audience at the Royal Festival Hall: "For us, our boys, Daniel and Sam, will be the most important people at our wedding and I'd like to speak today, not just about them, but about the prospect of their whole generation.

"I am worried - and every parent should be worried - about what will happen to our children in the coming decades. About what the future holds for us, our children and our country. About what sort of place Britain will become."

'Burden'

Mr Miliband said: "It's not enough just to deal with the deficit. Our country will be stronger only if we act to restore the promise of Britain for the next and future generations."

He argued that the "Jam generation" of politicians - like Mr Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne who grew up listening to the band The Jam in the 1980s and now dominate government - was in danger of creating the "jilted generation".

Mr Miliband also said: "His [Mr Cameron's] claim to be protecting the next generation by making this his only priority is blown apart because they are bearing so much of the burden for his decisions: from cuts to sure start to the end of educational maintenance allowances to the trebling of tuition fees."

He discussed the financial situation for young people, adding: "The average age of first time buyers was 30 in the mid-1980s. Today, it stands at 37. Our generation of politicians must act soon or people will be waiting until their forties before they buy their first home."

Asked about Labour's record in government, Mr Miliband told the BBC News Channel: "I think we made a difference to the younger generation... but we didn't get everything right... There were issues that we didn't properly address, like housing."

But he called for a more "grown-up" discussion of policies affecting young people by all parties in future.

Earlier this month the government announced a plan to "reverse the trend of rising youth unemployment".

It promised a £60m package to create apprenticeships and work placements in private firms.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said this would "address the scandal of the highest level of youth unemployment the UK has seen in modern times".

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