David Cameron's Big Society adviser hits out at policy
ONE of the most influential figures behind David Cameron's Big Society has condemned the coalition government for scrapping Child Trust Funds.
In a hard hitting report published today, Philip Blond, head of the ResPublica thinktank, who was recently described as the Prime Minister's "philosopher king", has called for the government to think again about end the funds, a move he argues will trap low income families in "debt serfdom".
The criticism is a serious blow to Mr Cameron who borrowed many of the ideas from Mr Blond's influential book Red Tory for the party's election manifesto in an attempt to grab the centre ground for the Tories.
Mr Blond believes that the government should maintain the infrastructure of the Child Trust Funds and offer tax incentives of up 3,600 to parents, but he has also effectively given his backing to Scottish Labour MP Cathy Jamieson's campaign for the government to continue to make payments for children in care.
Mr Blond pointed out in his report - Asset Building for Children - that the wealthiest households in the UK had assets worth 100 times more than the poorest, a figure it said dwarfed the gap between incomes.
He warned that efforts to create a fair society with opportunity for all would founder unless urgent action was taken to address the asset gap.
The report recommends that an account should automatically be opened for all children who were aged under 18 on 1 April, 2011. Parents would be encouraged to save into the accounts by receiving tax relief on contributions of up to 3,600 a year.
Mr Blond said: "Too many Britons are trapped in a world of welfare and low wages, where owning little, they can change even less.
"Without assets, opportunity seldom knocks - wealth is what allows people to access opportunity and to advance up the social ladder."
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