Investing in our young people now is vital for the future success of our party and country
There can be nothing more fundamental to Conservative philosophy than the principle of investing wisely for the future.
Whether that’s families saving to buy their first home, businesses investing their profits in upgrading machinery or governments committing to long-term infrastructure projects, as Conservatives we understand the importance of planning ahead.
But over recent years we have inexplicably overlooked and neglected our most important national asset: the future of our children and young people.
We must apply the Conservative principle of wise investment to the next generation
Their future is looking less prosperous, less secure and less happy than perhaps any generation since the war. British children and young people are more likely to experience family breakdown than in any other country in the OECD. They’re more likely to suffer from poverty and mental health problems than before the pandemic. Our young people are likely to leave university with tens of thousands of pounds of debt, and are unlikely to be able to buy a house. Whilst our young people are deciding that they can’t afford to start families of their own – surely one of life’s most fulfilling and rewarding experiences – they know that they will spend their working lives paying off the national debt and supporting the pensions, health and social care of the wealthiest generation that has ever lived.
If we want to improve the outlook for our children and young people – and the consequences of not doing so will be profound – we must apply the Conservative principle of wise investment to the next generation.
To give children the best start in life, we should roll out family hubs to every community and use them to support new parents and rebuild essential community support networks for families.
We need a complete reform of our individualised taxation model, to end the family penalty that sees some British families paying more than twice as much tax as in comparable countries. Our tax system must recognise the importance of stable families, the cost of raising children, and give parents the financial flexibility they need to undertake the important task of raising the next generation.
We must end the horror of unregulated internet pornography and online child sexual exploitation that is blighting our children’s lives, by implementing effective legislation and charging tech companies to use their enormous wealth to develop a solution.
We should stop subsidising third-rate universities with taxpayer cash and instead use the money to invest in training to give our young people the valuable skills they need for well-paid and productive careers.
More than buses, trains, hospitals or great trade deals, the future success of our country – and our party – depends on the success of the next generation. A wise investment now in families, children and young people will pay enormous dividends in the years to come. What could be more Conservative than that?
Miriam Cates, Conservative MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge
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