A few weeks ago, we wrote about how the Tory party has undergone a policy shift towards targeting “wokeism” and a race to the bottom on tax cuts as the final two fight for the votes of 0.2% of the country to cement themselves as the next Prime Minister.
But while this fight for the predominantly white middle aged affluent male vote is underway, it represents yet another cycle of neglecting the future of the party: the under 30’s vote.
The Conservatives have been ceding the youth vote for some time now, election after election we see Labour dominate the vote share of the 18-30 age bracket. This is hardly surprising when the Conservative Party has raised the tax burden to the highest in 40 years – with the controversial National Insurance tax rise predominantly hitting younger, lower-paid workers. At the same time, Liz Truss is pledging to restore the triple lock on pensions at a cost of £21bn to the taxpayer. The Conservative government appears happy to burden the younger generation with a huge tax bill, and with real wages in 2025 predicted to be lower than in 2008, you can’t blame the youth for thinking there are better options out there.
So, what can the party do to fix this?
Start with housing. The idea for young people to own their own place is disappearing quickly, already the wage to price ratio has spiralled out of control. You now need 9 times your salary to afford your home on average, and you can forget about buying in major cities like London. Even renting is unaffordable with landlords hiking up prices, gouging any chances of saving. There needs to be a drive to build a sustainable supply of housing and provide the infrastructure to support it. Planning permission needs to change, for too long have homeowners eager to protect their own valuations been able to resist new developments unnecessarily.
Secondly, firm inviolable commitments to the environment need to be made. It’s no secret that the environment ranks as the single most important issue amongst Gen Z. With record breaking temperatures becoming more frequent, the evidence of climate change is clear as day. So, it is difficult to see Liz Truss encouraging people to recycle, whilst simultaneously backing fracking and proposing to suspend the green levy. Renewables, which have been more economically viable than non-renewables for years, should be invested in with large scale energy storage being the final step in being able to solve the problem of unreliable supply.
The Conservative party needs to think beyond this election, its future voters demands aren’t complicated, a place to live and a planet to live on. Let’s hope that they can deliver.