The political debate is hotting up as we head into the June election and so to are some astounding assumptions behind the claims. Some examples:
Care costs preventing people from leaving their home to their children. UK life expectancy is now around 80; the average age of UK first time Mums is 28 and they then go on to have an average of two children. In this scenario families would inherit the home when they are in their early 50s – at the time their own children are about to leave home! A simple ‘reality check’ suggests that very few houses will be left to families who then go on to live in them. Homes are just another type of asset.
We will invest £35 billion in the NHS. In every year since the NHS was launched in 1948 medical inflation has outstripped general inflation. The cost of running the service is taking an ever-increasing share of annual public expenditure with the service now employing over one million people and costing £108bn a year to run. The worry about the extra £35bn is that it is not an ‘investment in the future’ but simply this generation borrowing long term to pay for our own medical care – that is asking our grandchildren to pay our medical bills. Even if it is an ‘investment’ by expanding the service are we simply making the service more expensive for our grandchildren to run?
We will give you a second vote on leaving Europe. I think that moment has past. UK has given notice that it will be leaving and the clock has started. By all means vote on what the negotiations have achieved, but if they are not acceptable then the rules say we revert to GATT. Change our minds now and there are 27 countries lining up to capitalise on our change of heart – the price of re-admission would be extremely high – what would the grandchildren think?
Europe is our biggest trading partner – without a doubt, but the UK is also an important trading partner for the EEC. The challenge will be letting commercial interests prevail over political considerations. Some in Brussels who were appalled that the UK dared to question the European dream are equally worried that other countries may follow. Europe is currently an incredibly important market but it has an aging population who have aspirations beyond their bank balance. Does the 90%+ of the world that is not Europe represent a better long term prospect? What will our children and grandchildren think?
A second vote for Scotland – The original case for Scottish independence was argued on an oil price of $100 a barrel – today the market price is about half that and in short the numbers just wont add up. Longer term the oil price will recover, but if the vote for independence had gone through first time around Scotland would today be racking up their debt mountain for future generations – another Greek disaster in the making?