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BUDGET REACTION: A Budget for the next generation

By Philippa Stroud

As George Osborne stood to deliver his eighth Budget, most people expected steady-as-you-go. The key objective would be to deliver a solid budget that would keep everyone happy in the run up to the EU referendum.

As we listened to the Budget unfold the key recurring theme was “a Budget for the next generation”.

This was a Budget to ensure that the next generation does not pay our debt (paying down the deficit by 3/4), is better educated (extending school opening hours), and is healthier (sugar levy to pay for investment in sport).

There is much in this Budget that the CSJ welcomes – we have campaigned for a help to save measure; mentoring schemes have had our support since we first recommended home-school support champions; a commitment to tackling rough sleeping in our cities is crucial; and the raising of  the National Living Wage so that work pays through earnings is vital.

But this Budget also spends millions on infrastructure programmes and tax reductions from building tunnels and railways to freezing beer duty.

If we are really committed to the next generation it is time to listen to what the next generation really needs: strong stable families with a strong early intervention programme that will ensure that if you are born into a family that wants to care for you but does not know how, they are given all the skills to do so, and if you are born into a family that cannot care for you, you receive all the support you need before it damages you. 

This is where investment is crucially needed to genuinely be a Budget for the next generation.

Philippa Stroud on BBC News and Sky News:

Earlier this week, CSJ Director Philippa Stroud appeared on BBC News and Sky News to discuss the Government's 'Help to Save' scheme. To watch Philippa on BBC News click here and to see the Sky News discussion click here.

SAVINGS: Helping the next generation put money aside is a social justice priority for the Chancellor

By Mark Winterburn

The Chancellor is well known for his crusade to tackle the nation’s debt problem, but today he also made some significant moves to help get the country’s personal finances back on track.

First was a new ‘Lifetime ISA’. For every £4 a young person saves for a housing deposit or retirement up to £4000 a year, the Treasury will chip in another £1. This provides greater flexibility than the existing ‘Help to Buy ISA’ scheme, which provided the same bonus but could only be used to buy a home.

This is a really welcome move because for a lot of young people home ownership is an uncertain prospect, but everyone will need financial security later in life.

Second, the Chancellor reiterated the Government’s commitment to introduce a Help to Save scheme to help Britons on a low income save. This isn’t a niche problem: 4 in 10 of us have less than £500 in savings. Under Help to Save, people will be able to save up to £50 a month and receive a 50 per cent bonus after 2 years – worth up to £600.

We think this is an excellent incentive to encourage those on a low income to begin to save – even if it is a very small amount each week. If this were delivered through auto-enrolment, and if there was a way to give an extra reward to those on the lowest incomes to save, such as a ‘Christmas Bonus’ for those who didn’t take money out of their account, it would do even more to boost the savings efforts of the lowest paid.

HOMELESSNESS: The Chancellor finds his social justice voice and turns his attention to homelessness

By Frank Young 

One of the most eye catching social justice announcements in today’s Budget was a big injection of Government cash to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping on our streets.

The Chancellor has found £115 million to tackle homelessness and expand the provision of new residential accommodation. In tackling one of the most serious social issues of our time the Chancellor has found his social justice voice and should be applauded.

In today’s Budget, the Chancellor said he wanted to find long term solutions to long term problems”. Alongside welcoming additional money, the Government should ensure that support is provided for homeless people to develop new skills and re-build their lives. It will be this support, alongside new money, which will prove crucial in a long term approach to tackling homeless and help homeless people to “get back on their feet.”

SKILLS: A Budget for the ‘next generation’ needs to invest in skills…

By Frank Young

When historians look back at George Osborne’s time as Chancellor, the introduction of the National Living Wage will surely be one of his defining announcements.

For low-pay Britain, the big announcement of the week was left to the Prime Minister on Monday who announced that the National Minimum Wage for 21 - 24 year olds would be brought within 25p per hour of the new National Living Wage. This is a welcome step.

If the Chancellor wants to build on his National Living Wage achievements of last year and "support the next generation", he should turn his attention to plans to help Universal Credit claimants increase their income through individual work ‘Progression Plans’.

This would move towards an economy where the low paid can develop new skills, earn more money and move out of poverty for good which really would put “the next generation first."

TAX: Social justice in the tax system

By Nathan Gamester

What does a ‘socially just’ income tax system look like?

Most people would agree on the following two principles: that the lowest earners should pay less tax while the rich should pay more. You might be surprised to know that the current Government is succeeding on both counts.

Two statistics from today’s budget outline the Government’s progress:

1) The richest 1 per cent in the UK pay 28 per cent of all income tax;
2) The tax-free personal allowance is rising to £11,500 from April next year.

When George Osborne became Chancellor in May 2010, the tax-free allowance stood at £6,500. Since then it has risen steadily. By the end of the current Parliament, the Government has committed to raising it further to £12,500.

Whichever way you look at it, this will make a material difference to the lowest earners in Britain.

One of the surest ways the Government can help the poor is to tax them less. As George Osborne stated today, this change to the personal allowance means that “1.3 million of the lowest paid [will be] taken out of tax altogether.”

Poverty is about more than just money but when you’re struggling to make ends meet, money matters.

By raising the tax-free personal allowance, George Osborne is giving Britain’s lowest earners a welcome and much needed boost.

SPORT: A Sugar Levy puts sport in the spotlight as a top social justice tool

By Lucy Kinder

The Chancellor highlighted the UK’s shocking obesity rates in his budget, warning the country that "5 million children under 5 are consuming their body weight in sugar each year.” 

The health of our children and in particular the ability of our poorest families to buy cheap, healthy food is increasingly a serious social justice concern.

In response the Chancellor announced a new soft drinks industry levy. The revenue raised from the levy - which is expected to raise £520 million in its first year - will be used, in part, to fund school sport.

The CSJ warmly welcomes this move and we hope it is the first in a series of announcements to ensure sport becomes a tool for social good, helping our children to be healthier.

MENTORING: A big boost for mentoring helps to support the most vulnerable

By Oenone Scott

Just before today’s Budget the Prime Minister confirmed that the Government will be giving £14 million to support and publicise mentoring programmes. 25,000 pupils that are the most at risk of underachieving or dropping out of schools at GCSEs will be given access to high-flying mentors from the business, charity and public sectors.

The CSJ supports this initiative, as mentoring is a proven method of reducing the number of young people aged 16 -24 who are NEET (not in education, employment or training). 

In 2014 we published a recommendation to this effect, with examples from programmes such as ThinkForward in Tower Hamlets, which succeeded in reducing the NEET rate amongst the most at risk 10 per cent of pupils by 88 per cent by the time they reach the age of 18.

The CSJ celebrates this initiative, as it’s another positive step towards tackling educational inequality, and improving the life chances of our most deprived young people.


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