It’s just as tough today as it used to be

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While Michael and Margaret of Seaford (letters April 6th) may feel the “Granny tax” seems fair, I don’t feel their comments about the post war baby boomers reflects the true situation but only that of a privilege few.

Free university education was only possible for a privileged few.

In 1955 at the age of 11, I attended Crowborough County Secondary Modern School when it first opened. Very few teachers had university degrees and most students left school at the age of 15 without any O-levels to start work.

While woodwork and metal work were useful skills further technical education was needed for apprenticeships to real jobs. That, said some former students, became entrepreneurs starting their own construction related companies or joined oil companies who prospected for oil on Crowborough Golf Course.

Therefore as to the statement about more secure jobs and better pensions yes that may have applied to the privileged few but not the majority.

While there were jobs to be had, these were mainly low paid jobs which only East Europeans are prepared to take today.

I like many of my friends joined HM Forces to see the world, and further my education. Several of us served on active service for more than nine years in Malaya, Brunei, Borneo, Aden, and Northern Ireland, for which we receive no pension. Some served for nearly 20 years with no pension they are now in their 70s.

On leaving the forces at the age of 27, having obtained a service education in my spare time, I took a BSc degree part-time, travelling for five years to London from Crowborough. I also obtained a professional qualification. The lectures in London started at 9am and finished at 9pm. I was not alone. There where many students from similar backgrounds working hard on similar courses to improve their lot. Most students had to work at the weekends to make up for the day release as it was called.

Having practiced my profession for 14 years, I then became an academic having obtain an MA degree part-time.

During my 24 years as an academic in Nottingham and Bristol, some students seems to be surprised that I had finished my first career at the age of 27 when some students had only just started their first.

The key to success is not just opportunity, for example 50 per cent in higher education, it’s motivation by students achieving their full potential by achieving realistic goals related to real jobs and relevant skills.

As to the comment about cheap housing, it certainly was not cheap at the time. While the mortgage principle was that you could not pay back more in a month than you earned in a week, other household items were more expensive. To climb the property ladder, you usually had to buy a property that needed a lot of work doing to it in your spare time.

I therefore don’t feel it is right to give the impression that our generation had it easy. The majority had to work hard to get what they have today and many started work at 15 and retired after 65. Pensions are not for all including those who served their country on active service.

John A Bailey, Seaford