DEBATE: Would a ‘citizen’s inheritance’ of £10,000 to 25 year olds help tackle intergenerational inequality?

Skateboarding's South Bank Home Under Threat
Young people do get a bad deal these days (Source: Getty)

Would a ‘citizen’s inheritance’ of £10,000 to 25 year olds help tackle intergenerational inequality?

Olivia Utley, news and features editor at Reaction, says YES.

In Britain, there has always been a tacit deal between the old and young. The young will look after the old, and in exchange, the old will help the young have a better life than the generation before.

But sometime during the last decade or so, that deal broke down. Millennials are now half as likely as baby boomers to own their own home by the age of 30, and – thanks to soaring life expectancy – even those who do benefit from traditional wealth redistribution only inherit late in life.

The Resolution Foundation’s “citizen’s inheritance” policy could be a great way to reset the balance. Funded by a change to inheritance tax, it would mean that everyone, not only the children of the rich, would be benefit from wealth redistribution – and the influx of cash would come during expensive child-rearing years, rather than just before retirement.

Critics will say it’s gimmicky, but perhaps, after suffering the introduction of tuition fees and rocketing house prices, this is one experiment in which millennials deserve to be the guinea pigs.

Read more: Give millennials £10,000 to tackle generation gap says commission

Chloe Westley, campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, says NO.

There are so many reasons why the Resolution Foundation’s proposal is a bad idea.

First, indiscriminately giving cash bonuses to everyone of a certain age – regardless of their income or wealth – is grossly unfair. Why should a poorer family on minimum wage have their money gifted to a 25 year old Premier League football player?

Second, it would surely be easier and save more time to simply allow young people to keep more of their monthly earnings, as opposed to taking it away, rubber stamping it, and giving it back.

Yes, young people do get a bad deal these days. The costs of housing and living in general are very high. But we won’t solve the housing crisis until we get more houses built. Giving young people a £10,000 hand-out will just put up the cost of housing by £10,000.

Instead of a one-off cash bribe, let’s address intergenerational unfairness and housing costs by allowing young people to keep more of their money.

Read more: An intergenerational storm is brewing – politicians beware

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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