I’m 21 and giving everyone in my age group a £10k payout is ludicrous│ Matt Gillow

As a 21-year-old student, you’d be forgiven for thinking the idea of a £10,000 pay out upon turning 25 may appeal to me. Bribes like that, certainly, are how Jeremy Corbyn got so popular amongst my age group – and surely, I’d be a fool to argue against free money?

Maybe it’ll surprise you, but I think the concept – a policy to fix intergenerational unfairness drummed up by the Resolution Foundation – is nothing short of ludicrous.

There’s a number of reasons that politicos and politicians shouldn’t give this policy the time of day. Number 1; giving 25-year-olds £10,000 to buy a house will push up the price of housing by £10,000. Number 2; welfare policies which are predicated on age rather than income are inherently ridiculous and ill-thought out. The TaxPayers’ Alliance Chloe Westley puts this well: why should a 25-year-old Premier League footballer get the same welfare payments as a working-class family on the poverty line by virtue of age? If you are to have a welfare state, which most people accept is a fundamental aspect of a progressive society, then it must be (obviously) founded on need and not age, beauty, or personality – three equally ridiculous concepts.

Number 3; the policy is centred around the idea that to qualify for this payment you must be either putting a deposit on a house, paying off tuition fees, or starting a business. What if you never went to University? What if you travel for work and don’t spend much time in one place? What if you’re quite happy without the gruelling task of starting up your own business? Funnily enough, there are people out there who fit under these categories.

You want to help my generation? There are plenty of ways government can do so without arbitrary payments which, ultimately, do absolutely nothing for most of us.

Whatever happened to the quite simple, quite effective, quite popular ideas of taxing people less and letting them keep more of their money? Several major think-tanks have called for government to exempt young workers from National Insurance. More of that at the top would be very much appreciated; let young people spend their own money on things that will benefit them directly, and don’t hurt hard-working pensioners with silly changes to Inheritance Tax. Want to fix the housing crisis? Liberalise planning laws, claw back the greenbelt and don’t just increase demand without supply by paying for young people’s deposit.

The issues identified by the intergenerational unfairness report are serious ones – the Housing Crisis is harming prospects for Generation Rent, and the tax burden is at its highest in 30 years. Powers-that-be, if you’re listening; tax us less and let us keep more of what we work for.

 

 

 

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