Is citizen’s inheritance a good idea?

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The need for more intergenerational wealth and current asset inequity has been ubiquitous. However, little has been done to change this.

A report from the Intergenerational Commission has recommended that £10 000 should be given to all young people when they turn 25. This is claimed to be enough money to allow young people to invest in either their businesses, property or education. This suggestion comes following the intergenerational commission discovering that 40 per cent of millennials will be living in rented accommodation by the age of 30 and thus will be liable to incur all the risks and insecurities associated as such.

Research conducted by Young Enterprise, a charity that offers help to young people in harnessing their business skills, which is tied to the development of living standards, has also backed this potential solution.

Beyond the concerns that the model should use a “restricted-use asset endowment”, this is historically what has stifled innovation. Therefore in limiting what this money could be spent on may in fact limit progress and defeat the point of the programme, no matter how well-regulated it is.

The New Statesman last week stated that simply giving out money does not address the actual issues at stake but rather just paints over the cracks. Giving out £10 000 cannot independently serve to address “deep rooted structural issues.” This does not allow for the elevation of raw ideas that abound in the minds of millennials today, to undergo a process of translation into products and services that are widely sought after. For example, the proposal is bereft of any recommendation on how the tutelage and guidance of existing business may accompany the bestowal of such funds. Such concern as to scope is also reflected by the common though not unanimous testimony offered by young people as part of Robert Booth’s commentary in the Guardian.

Irresistible though the enactment of the proposals may be through the exposition of declining living standards as expressed notably in housing, it is right that there is pause for thought before such present measures are given absolute credibility. The proposal is, however, believed to be correct insofar as it’s advocacy for a realignment of focus whereby business ownership changes hands.

This, it would seem , calls for the law to be in favour of dynamic interests as much as it is incontrovertibly for those that are static. That is say, that bold business-engaged measures should be aimed at aiding those who aspire to give life to their enterprising hopes as well as those who already have. Parliament at this moment must therefore be a forum for the development of this idea as much as any other, however, we must ruefully acknowledge that it is not.

Two reasons may offer an apt explanation of why this is so. Firstly, a characterisation of young people, though largely untrue, as unworthy, idle and binge-drinking, has been allowed to prevail principally through press coverage. Secondly, against such a backdrop the case has not been conveyed to those who reliably vote; over 65s according to YouGov. In particular that these will aid in surmounting economic deficiencies like historically low productivity as identified by Grace Blakely and in turn generate certainty in relation to the cost of care in later life. In other words, the well-conceived investment in the ideas of young people must come to represent a policy of insurance rather than one of simple spending.

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