YOUNG people are Scotland's future.

In a few short years, they will be teaching in our schools, editing our newspapers, directing our national arts bodies and, indeed, running the country.

With that in mind, the adjectives we should be using to describe them are "talented", "energetic" and "brimming with potential". How depressing, then, that it has become fashionable to refer to today's 20-somethings as a lost generation.

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The word "lost" should not, of course, be interpreted as a slur on the individuals. In educational terms, today's young adults are better qualified than any previous generation and their ability to keep on top of the fast-changing world of digital technology confirms they are at least as ambitious and adaptable as their parents and grandparents.

Tragically, the economic climate means many of them can't find the jobs they are qualified to do. Others are saddled with large student debts and, even if they do find short-term, low-paid work, can't see any prospect of getting on to the housing ladder or starting a family, let alone enjoying the relatively secure careers and generous pensions their parents took for granted.

In short, they feel they have been let down and, as we report today, many leading economists believe young people can, on average, expect to be worse off than their baby-boomer parents.

In these circumstances, young people could be forgiven for feeling despondent. Our Governments – both at Holyrood and Westminster –should place their employment, housing and financial needs at the heart of their economic and social agendas.

Far from a lost generation, Scotland's youth have everything to play for and with 16 and 17-year-olds set to vote next year for the first time, they are a vibrant political force that our politicians neglect at their peril.