The Austerity Games: 23 July: highlighting the plight of young people

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Guest post by Suzanne Beishon, London Organiser of the Youth Fight for Jobs & Education Campaign 

A staggering £24bn is expected to be spent on the Olympic Games, but young people face little enjoyment and no long term benefit from this costly outlay.  

The promises of jobs, homes and services from the Olympics already lie in the gutter. The inaccessible ticketing system and expensive cost for local councils and families means that for most working and young people living on the doorstep of the games will be watching the events through TV screens.  

Democratic rights during the games are under attack with exclusions zones that include putting 9pm curfews on under-16s until the start of November, giving the police the right to disperse groups of two suspected of ‘anti-social behaviour’ and the rights to remove anti-Olympic posters and propaganda.  As well as this, council tenants face missiles on their rooftops as part of the Olympic security operation.

Rents have soared during the run up to the games as landlords seeking to take advantage of the event are forcing people out of their homes if they can’t afford more cash. Meanwhile, whilst council house waiting lists are through the roof, of the measly 2,818 homes that will be left from the Olympic village only 675 will be social housing with 6 boroughs sharing 107 of those and Newham having the leftovers.

Whilst the rich get ready for their costly few weeks of fun young people face a future of poverty and inequality with rising fees, the slashing of EMA, soaring rents, slave-labour Workfare schemes and sky-high unemployment. All to pay for a crisis created by the banks and big business. We are told that there isn’t the money to invest in jobs and education yet the bill for the Olympics continues to rise and there is a £750bn cash pile sitting in the banks of big business. They caused this crisis, but they refuse to invest into the futures of the next generation.

We’re getting organised to demand that the fantastic facilities built for the Olympics, instead of being demolished or sold to the private sector, be used to provide genuinely affordable housing and used to benefit local communities.

That is why young people and trade unionists from across the country will be sending teams to Hackney Marshes to compete in the ‘Austerity Games’ on the 23rd July, the week before the Olympics. We will be launching the Youth Fight for Jobs & Education Manifesto: ‘A future for the 99%’ which lays out the problems faced by young people in Britain today and a strategy of how to get organised and fight for a decent future. We are launching it with athletics events highlighting the plight of young people in the shadow of these expensive and corporate Olympic Games including the Race to the Bottom, Job Jump, Property High Jump, Deficit Discus, Hardship Hurdles and more.

For more information or to enter a team in the Austerity Games go to http://www.youthfightforjobs.com/wordpress/wordpress/?p=493

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