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英国首相布莱尔01系列演讲之Savings and Assets for all - 26 April

2006-05-30 16:15

  I'm delighted to welcome you all here today - there are people here from the children's charities, financial services and others.

  As a Government, we are committed to extending power, wealth and opportunity to the many, not just the few. To building a Britain in which everyone has the chance to make the most of their potential.

  Opportunity for all dictates everything that we do as a Government.

  Today we are launching a consultation document which underlines this vision of a society:

  * where everyone has a stake which offers them genuine opportunity and security

  * where government provides the building blocks which enable and empower people to take greater responsibility for their own and their children's future,

  * which will make a real difference to the next generation's chances for success.

  I believe we have already made important strides in extending opportunity for all - through improving skills and work, through improving living standards and through improving the quality of public services.

  But now we want to add a fourth element: more people getting the benefit of assets and savings, so that we help spread prosperity and opportunity to every family and every community.

  Because now too many young people are still excluded from the chance to go to university, to own their own home, to have financial security or a career. I want to see all children grow up knowing that they have a financial stake in society. I want to see all children have the opportunity of a real financial springboard to a better education, a better job, a better home - a better life. I want to see every child able to make the most of themselves.

  So what we are proposing is, firstly, a Child Trust Fund. That means that at birth every single child in the country would receive a start to their savings - an endowment from the Government which would build up over time, with additional amounts paid as they grow up.

  By the time they're ready to start life on their own, every child in every family in every home across the country will have a sound financial platform which could help pay for lifelong learning, training, owning that first home, setting up a business.

  Sowing the seeds of success. Opening up opportunity for all.

  Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends could all contribute to this fund - at birthday, at Christmas, at any time. For children from middle and lower income families, we would give more. The aim is to encourage upward mobility, and give young people a fund of several thousand pounds to help plan their future.

  I believe this approach will give real meaning to creating a meritocratic society. It will extend to children everywhere the opportunities that might be taken for granted higher up the income ladder.

  But we also want to encourage adults to save for themselves to help ride out difficult times - losing a job or becoming ill, for example.

  So on top of the support already provided by the welfare state, our second key proposal today is for a Saving Gateway account, through which the Government will match savings - pound for pound. With this measure - geared towards lower-income households, whether they have children or not - we will be reaching out to people who have had precious few incentives to save before.

  It will balance rights and responsibilities - the responsibility to save, but with the right to see the Government give the help that's needed. This mutual responsibility is central to our approach - the government pays an endowment and provides matching funding. But people are responsible for saving for their own and their children's future.

  We know that building up and having an asset can encourage greater independence and forward planning. It enables people to raise their expectations and take the risk of investing in their future.

  All our children should have the chance of a proper start in life. Getting people into the savings habit, and making sure children have a real financial springboard as they grow up is a vital part of that. Piece by piece, we are dismantling the barriers which hold people back and prevent them fulfilling their potential.

  I believe these proposals represent one further step on the road to making a reality of the vision of Britain as a real land of opportunity for all.

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