Tories should encourage ‘inherently capitalist’ younger voters by lowering taxes

Bim Afolami believes prosperity enjoyed by their parents feels "increasingly out of reach" for the younger demographic
Bim Afolami believes prosperity enjoyed by their parents feels 'increasingly out of reach' for the younger demographic - STUART WALKER

Young people are “inherently capitalist” and the Conservatives should support their “entrepreneurial ambition” by lowering taxes, a Treasury minister has said ahead of the Budget next week.

Bim Afolami, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, will use a speech on Wednesday to urge the Conservatives to deliver more opportunities for future generations or risk an “existential” challenge at the general election later this year.

Mr Afolami is expected to say: “I think many people in politics make the mistake of assuming that our young people are either woke revolutionaries or red-blooded reactionaries.

“In fact, they are inherently capitalist – they are commercially minded, entrepreneurial and ambitious.”

Fewer than one in five 25 to 29-year-olds owned a home of their own in 2020, while YouGov polling last week showed that Rishi Sunak’s party was only more popular among those over the age of 65.

Labour had a lead of more than 40 percentage points with voters aged 18 to 24 and 25 to 49, while those between 50 and 64 favoured the official opposition by almost 15 points.

Citing remarks by Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, that low-tax countries have more “dynamic” economies, Mr Afolami will add: “Conservatives know that one of the best ways to help young people get ahead in life is to let them keep more of their own money by lowering tax in a responsible way.”

He will also argue younger generations no longer feel they have “any real stake in society” and the prosperity enjoyed by their parents feels “increasingly out of reach”.

Mr Afolami’s speech will conclude: “I am worried about the rising trend in young people turning away from market economics and from liberal democracy itself.

“If we can’t deliver sufficient opportunity for younger people, the Conservative Party faces an existential challenge at the next election, and over the long term.”

The Treasury minister is a patron of the Next Generation Centre, which the Adam Smith Institute will use to commission research on topics including housing and economic growth as part of a push to deliver greater opportunity for young people through the free market.

Michael Gove, the Housing Secretary, warned last month that increasing numbers of young people may lose faith in not just capitalism but the wider democratic system if they believed the markets were “rigged” against them.

Mr Gove, who has reportedly lobbied Mr Hunt for an ambitious housing offer in the Budget, has promised to ban no-fault evictions, which has led to a backlash from landlords.

He is trying to stave off opposition from within Tory ranks to his leasehold reforms, which will make it easier for owners to see where their money is going.