Should 25-Year-Olds Really Be Given A £10,000 Universal Inheritance?

Sounds great but it won’t solve wealth inequality anytime soon

Should 25-Year-Olds Really Be Given A £10,000 Universal Inheritance?

by Phoebe Parke |
Published on

It’s no secret that wealth in the UK is abhorrently unbalanced.

Those with the most money keep getting richer, while the poor struggle to even find dry place to sleep at night. This week a radical solution to wealth inequality was put forward by economist Carys Roberts of the Institute for Public Policy Research who suggest giving all 25-year-olds a universal inheritance of £10,000.

Yes really.

The research paper put forward by the think tank argues that since those who already have assets, or are set to receive assets like money and houses will continue to see their wealth grow, and those without will be left behind. They suggest that the UK turn some people’s private wealth into a public fund and ‘help reduce individual wealth inequality by providing all 25-year-olds with a universal minimum inheritance of £10,000.’

It’s a radical idea, but could this actually work?

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Having been a 25-year-old living in the UK myself, I can totally understand the benefit of having an extra £10,000 in the bank at that age. The truth is we can’t enjoy the things our parent’s generation had access to at the same age – getting on the property ladder without a hefty deposit is unlikely, banks are far more cautious about lending, the cost of living has skyrocketed and jobs for life aren’t really a thing anymore.

This is something Roberts and her team acknowledge; ‘A £10,000 universal minimum inheritance would provide young people with a buffer as they enter adulthood,' she writes in The Independent.

‘Many younger people do not enjoy the access to housing, freedom to experiment and start businesses, or secure incomes that their parents’ generation enjoyed. A lump sum dividend would be transformative, enabling everyone to have the “opportunity effect” of assets, not just those set to inherit a large amount of wealth.’

This all sounds great so far, right? I mean who doesn’t want £10, 000.

But if we think addressing inequality is as simple as throwing some money at the problem, we’re simplifying the issue. Having £10,000 extra at 25 won’t mean that ethnic minorities aren’t discriminated against in the workplace making it harder for them to hold leadership positions, it won’t mean women suddenly start leaping over the gender pay gap and earn the same amount as their male counterparts, and it without more education around how to save and invest money, that £10,000 might not last very long at all.

Follow Phoebe on Twitter @PhoebeParke

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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