Wednesday, October 27

Shock plan for a nearly lost generation

Among many other disasters, the Great Recession that shook the world from the global financial crisis that broke out in 2007-2008 truncated the job, professional and vital expectations of many young Spaniards. The subsequent slow and uneven economic recovery and the new 2020 economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic have somehow turned a good part of these population cohorts into a lost generation. They live considerably worse than their parents lived at their age. Despite being generally better trained than their parents, many of them have not yet deployed their full potential, almost a decade and a half after those first serious difficulties that came their way.

You can discuss the specific measures that it carries within, but the special plan for young people that the Government has included in its draft General State Budgets for 2022 seems appropriate and necessary. Scholarships, professional training, job placement, the rental voucher and the cultural voucher are the main lines aimed at young people, who for the first time will have their own chapter in a State Budget.

The initiative has not been well explained by the government, which has allowed itself to be entangled in sterile debates, and has not been understood by the opposition. Although we are still in the middle of the legislature and there are no elections in sight, a part of the opposition has called the measures electoralists. Another part has focused the debate on whether or not bulls should be included among the cultural consumptions that are subsidized, despite the fact that the cultural bonus is the least numerous of the items dedicated to young people: 210 million of that total of 12,550. And the leader of the PP, Pablo Casado, has dismissed the rental assistance with a statement – “If you have a job and a payroll, you can access a rent” – which indicates that he is either misinformed or poorly advised or both.

Whether or not the leader of the PP admits it, access to housing, for purchase or for rent, is a problem for many Spaniards with jobs and payroll. Not only young, also not so young. Although the pandemic has impacted the real estate market, and has lowered prices in many stressed areas as many properties that until March 2020 were dedicated to tourist rental have gone out to the stable residential supply, many young people still have very difficult access to a home today. The data are incontestable. The average age of emancipation has risen again, and young people who had become emancipated have had to return to the family home. And shared flats – and even shared mini flats – have once again become the only solution, and not just for students, but also for workers with jobs and payroll.

The Government expects that in 2022 between 40,000 and 50,000 young people will take advantage of the rental voucher. They seem like many, but it is not like that. According to official studies, some 600,000 young people with low incomes live in rent.

The parliamentary procedure of the Budgets should serve for the Executive to better explain itself and for the opposition to understand that rescuing our party generation can be a good matter of State consensus.

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