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Grandparents Should Leave Homes and Savings to Millennials, Says British MP

The answer to young people never being able to afford a house is... inherited wealth, silly!
11 October 2016, 12:00am

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

We are truly a generational write-off. Everyone knows it. We know it, our parents know it, our bosses know it, even MPs know it. Despite the fact they've spent the better half of the last decade ruining our chances of a happy life, there's a surprising hint of optimism in the form of comments from housing minister Gavin Barwell.

Barwell – potentially a genius – has suggested that parents should leave their houses and savings to their grandchildren rather than their children to help them get on the housing ladder. Or, to put it another way: the best way to deal with inequality is... inherited wealth!

He revealed that his 75-year-old mother had chosen to leave her £700,000 house in Croydon to her five grandchildren rather than himself and his brother. The Croydon Central MP said the decision could help to reduce intergenerational inequities. "Generally in life we all like to think that our children are going to be better off than us. In terms of new technology and life expectancy, they are going to be," he told a fringe meeting at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham last week. "But at the moment, as things stand, they are less likely to own their own home and we need to do something about that."

The obvious problem is that while this helps out those with rich grandparents, it's no good for every other young person without rich grandparents, or young people who have grandparents who rent, for example. The average house price in England stands at £232,885, according to Land Registry figures, with the average in London more than double that figure at £484,716. Last week in her party conference speech, Theresa May described the housing market as "dysfunctional" and said the "power of government" was needed to repair it. Ultimately, these conditions need to be fixed rather than relying on class and inherited funds.

That said, call up your posh nan and tell her when she's rewriting her will to cut out yer da and think about who needs that semi bungalow and Rover 75 the most.