For Immediate Release
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BC Budget Pits Retirees Against Younger Generations
In last week’s Throne Speech, the government committed to make life more affordable for younger generations by investing in child care. Today’s budget did the reverse, delivering almost no increase for young people. But it added a $1.5 billion increase in medical care spending over 2 years – spending which primarily benefits the generation of retirees.
The problem is - annual government spending per retiree is already around $45,000 in BC, compared to just $12,000 per British Columbian under age 45. The Generation Squeeze Campaign asks government to narrow the generational spending gap slightly by increasing expenditures on younger generations from $12,000 to $13,000 – a thousand dollars per young person.
“By further widening the governments’ generational spending gap,” Dr. Paul Kershaw observes “the Budget fails to address how BC is now the least affordable jurisdiction for young people in the country.” Kershaw is a UBC Professor and the Founder of the Generation Squeeze Campaign, which aims to make the generational spending gap a key issue in advance of the spring election.
The province has become unaffordable for young generations, reports Stephen Butz, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Vancouver, and a Gen Squeeze Campaign advisor. “BC young people suffer the largest reduction in household incomes of any province since the mid-1970s, along with the greatest increase in housing prices – up over 150 per cent.”
The BC Liberal and NDP parties have both said that the province cannot afford $10/day child care, which is key to narrowing the generational spending gap. “But building this program would only raise spending per young person to $12,500,” observes Anita Huberman, the CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, and another advisor to the Gen Squeeze campaign. “This is affordable while still leaving spending on retirees around its current level,” she adds.
“Why is $1.5 billion unaffordable for $10/day child care when an extra $1.5 billion is affordable for medical care?” asks Kershaw. “Why do the two main rivals in the upcoming provincial election pursue campaign success on the backs of young people, pitting spending on parents and grandparents against investing in their kids and grandchildren?”
A network of partners support the Generation Squeeze Campaign (gensqueeze.ca) to ensure younger generations have a chance. A chance to deal with lower wages, higher living costs, environmental change and an imbalance in government spending without compromising the family they have, or the family they want.
Cassin Elliott, Campaign Manager, Generation Squeeze. Cassin.Elliott@ubc.ca 778-386-5300