Examination of Witnesses

Part of Savings (Government Contributions) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:27 pm on 25th October 2016.

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Jonquil Lowe:

Automatic enrolment, yes, is definitely superior. The employer’s subsidy is very valuable so it would be extremely concerning if people switched to lifetime ISAs. The problem for women with caring responsibilities is that they simply do not have a lot of money to save. It is very nice that they can have a bonus if they can save, but if they cannot save, where does that leave them?

The value of unpaid caring is huge. The Office for National Statistics tries to measure it and reckons the value of unpaid childcare is about £320 billion a year and unpaid adult care about £57 billion a year. The figures are huge—about a fifth of GDP. Countries address the problem in different ways. For example, Finland has a home care allowance that recognises the value of unpaid work and gives some income that can be used to buy childcare to release the woman for work, or perhaps for other matters, which might be setting money aside to save for emergencies or later life. Simply saying, “If you save, here’s a tax bonus,” does not solve the problem of the people who cannot afford to save.