Philip Hammond has pledged help for young people in his autumn Budget – and asked Tory backbenchers for ideas for what he could do.
He told his party’s MPs there was a need to address the financial situation of the young, and said the gulf between generations had to be tackled.
They were asked to submit suggestions for measures he could introduce in the Budget to his parliamentary aide, Kwasi Kwarteng.
Mr Hammond was speaking at a private meeting of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers yesterday
Mr Hammond was speaking at a private meeting of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers yesterday.
One MP who was present said: ‘There was a lot of stuff about students.
‘He said look at us, no mortgage, everybody with a pension and never had more money in the current account.
‘You compare that to the younger generation, if they go to university they are hit with debt… and there was a need to address that. Kwasi is his point man and we’ve been asked to submit in writing thoughts before the budget.’
It is understood that MPs have been asked to keep their contributions to 250 words, and were assured that their submissions would be taken into consideration.
Mr Hammond’s move comes after reports that senior Tories have told an internal review of June’s snap election that the party was left vulnerable by a lack of policies for younger people, who strongly backed Labour in the poll.
Downing Street advisers have already been asking Westminster think-tanks for ideas to appeal to the young after Jeremy Corbyn won huge support for policies on affordable housing, scrapping student fees, and a softer Brexit.
Last week a YouGov poll found 66 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 supported Labour, with only 18 per cent backing the Conservatives.
MPs ‘WILL NOT BE CUT’
Ministers are poised to drop plans to cut the number of MPs by 50, it emerged last night.
This year’s Conservative manifesto repeated a 2015 commitment to reduce the size of the Commons from 650 members to 600.
But following the election result party figures do not believe Theresa May has a strong enough majority to make the changes. Labour and opposition parties oppose the plan, but crucially so does the Democratic Unionist Party, whose MPs Mrs May needs for her Commons majority.
Government sources declined to say whether the plan would be axed, but pointed out that legislation would be needed to allow boundaries to be redrawn.
They believed Labour policies were better on almost all issues, especially housing and education. The MP present at the meeting said Mr Hammond was ‘incredibly barbed’ on the subject of the Tory election campaign, telling the gathering he had only been ‘allowed out’ on rare occasions.
The Chancellor is believed to be angry at Theresa May’s election advisers for promoting the Prime Minister’s ‘strong and stable leadership’ mantra above his stewardship of the economy.
‘He talked about the fact that, in his opinion, in the election campaign not enough had been made of the economy,’ the MP said. ‘But he basically sold how important the economy is going to be.
‘He said if you want to see what a Corbyn Britain would look like, well just get on the plane to Caracas [the capital of strife-torn Venezuela].’
Last week George Freeman, the MP for Mid Norfolk and chair of the Conservative policy forum, said the Tories were not doing enough to appeal to the young.
He asked: ‘Why would you support capitalism if you have no prospect of owning any capital?’