HAYES IN THE HOUSE: By MP John Hayes
The influential economist John Maynard Keynes once declared that ‘in the long run we are all dead.’ Keynes believed that the objective of economic policy was to improve the immediate future. The long-term, he contended, could look after itself.
It comes as little surprise to learn that Keynes himself had no children. This may account for his disregard for what happens after his death. I, in contrast have two young sons and, like all parents, care about the future in which my children will live out their adult lives. My colleague, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, also a father of young children, delivered a budget last week that puts the next generation first.
An important long-term issue our country faces is finding ways of helping more Britons save for their future. Young people in particular often face the invidious choice between saving towards a deposit for their first home or saving for their pension. For under 40s, many of whom haven’t had such a good deal from pensions, the Chancellor announced a completely new Lifetime ISA. Young people won’t be forced to choose between owning their own home or having a personal pension – the government will give them money to do both. For every £4 saved, the Exchequer will add £1 until the age of 50. A strong society depends on generational cohesion. It is only fair that young people can aspire to a home of their own and a comfortable retirement. As we pass the baton to the next generation it is our duty to ensure we have given them a head start.
People can only prepare for the future if they keep more of the money they earn. That why, from April 2017 the tax free personal allowance will rise to £11,500, a tax cut for 31 million people that means a typical basic rate taxpayer will be paying over £1,000 less income tax than they were five years ago.
The British economy is stronger today precisely because we have spent the years since the turn of the decade confronting our country’s problems and taking difficult, but necessary, decisions. We have paid down the budget deficit so that the next generation doesn’t have to pay this generation’s debts. To maintain a society that works then ‘the have it now pay later’ carelessness about the future must be replaced by such an intergenerational sense of responsibility.
Now we have taken another step forward by helping the next generation save more for all our futures.