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Senior Tory MP and former Secretary of State Simon Clarke was star guest at the launch of a new Westminster pressure group last night, Next Gen Tories.
It is calling on the Conservative Party to tackle the root causes of the generational divide by building thousands of new homes, solving the soaring costs of childcare and reversing the relatively higher tax rates faced by young graduates.
Mr Clarke, a prominent Boris Johnson and Liz Truss supporter, hailed the group’s message, saying the Next Gen Tories manifesto lays out a “positive, optimistic and dare I say it exciting vision of what a Conservative Britain can look like.”
Next Gen Tories’ biggest campaign issue is a demand to build hundreds of thousands of new houses.
Its research suggests the UK economy could stand to reap £17.7 billion in GDP growth for every 100,000 new homes.
Former Secretary of State for Levelling Up Simon Clarke lamented the “sad reality that the siren calls of NIMBYism” – the phenomenon of Brits not wanting new building projects in their own backyard – are making the need to get building “really hard for us to deliver on.”
Mr Clarke added: “I recognise as well as anybody there is a constituency in our politics, there is a constituency in our party, which is opposed to the very things which we know are vital for economic prosperity and social opportunity. We need to overcome that.”
Simon Clarke, who served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury under Boris Johnson, took a swipe at the opposition parties, accusing the Liberal Democrats of “rampant NIMBYism,” and Labour of “cynicism.”
He opined: “I believe if we get this right we can inspire a generation of young people to come over to our side of thinking.
“I think they will reject the rampant NIMBYism of the Liberal Democrats, I think they will reject the cynicism of the Labour Party. We at our best are the party which deals with hard truths and difficult realities.”
The inaugural reception for Next Gen Tories took place in the heart of the Palace of Westminster, with a number of MPs attending, including government ministers.
Witney MP Robert Courts also contributed to the group’s new manifesto, writing it is clear the Tory party needs to deliver a “drastically better deal for the younger generation.”
The group argues that Millennials and Gen Z workers face a cost of living crisis as they pay ever higher taxes, despite predictions they’ll take out less in welfare than previous generations.
Mr Courts wrote that: “Taxation in the UK has become a worrying wealth transfer from young to old.
“Capitalism relies heavily on access to capital. Yet the younger generation are being stripped of their capital, leaving them with no stake in the system.
“Income is being swallowed by an ever-growing state; exorbitant house prices prevent many accessing the housing ladder; slow wage growth and marginal tax rates mean that hard work does not provide the reward it should.”
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Former Vice Chair of the Tory Party Bim Afolami also endorsed the new grassroots group, focusing on the affect the housing crisis is having on young people.
He wrote: “It’s vital that Conservatives build a fresh consensus that champions homeownership and delivers on the promise of the 2019 manifesto.
“A strategy to build significantly more houses must be combined with serious reform of mortgage financing, which ensures that younger people can not just find a home, but afford one.”
Research by Next Gen Tories claims that while the average cost of buying a home in 1997 was just 3.7 times annual earnings, 25 years later, it has risen to 9.1 times.
According to the Centre for Policy Studies, home ownership is now possibly the biggest factor in determining how some votes come election time.
In 2019, 57 percent of owner-occupiers voted Tory, versus just 22 percent for Labour.
By contrast only 31 percent of private renters supported the Conservatives, with 46 percent plumping for Corbyn.
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