I only realised the child trust fund was worth saving about three days before the election: even then, I didn't process what a foolish loss it would be until it was lost, immediately after the poll.Oh well, the coalition was faced with some tough choices. And a scheme to take taxpayer’s money and place it in a ‘savings’ account was clearly one that had to go.
But under the umbrella Save Child Savings, organisations from ResPublica (Phillip Blond's "red Tory" thinktank) to the Family and Parenting Institute (Katharine Rake's organisation, more red than Tory) crave one last favour. Halt the funds, if you absolutely must, but keep the infrastructure – the cost to do so is £2m a year, or thereabouts. In terms of a public savings initiative, that is tiny.And why would we want to do that?
It would leave the apparatus in place to power the whole thing up again when the country recovers from recession.Hmmm. Maybe.
Or maybe for when the public have forgotten what a mess they left, and elect another Labour government, you mean?
If this is so valuable that even keeping its door open is worth fighting for, why did the fund ever look dispensable in the first place? From a distance, it seemed like a lot of money to spend, given that it was a universal handout and so would go to many people who weren't poor enough to warrant it.Precisely. It was a waste of money. And furthermore, it sent out the wrong message.
Since it was a savings initiative, it seemed also as if it might benefit the middle classes more than anybody else (with their fabled ability to defer gratification and make long-term decisions).Isn’t ‘delayed gratification’ and ‘long-term decision making’ something to be encouraged and strived for, then?I always thought so...
Yet at the same time there was an aspect to it that was socially conservative, that distilled the beliefs of the decent Tory: the value of asset-building; in everybody having something to trade in the free market beyond their labour; in people taking responsibility for their own savings, their own financial futures.For the last time, Zoe, ‘saving’ is what people do with their own money.
Not when the government takes money from everyone else and gives it to you.