5 Dec 2013

Autumn statement 2013: you be the chancellor

What bright ideas would light up the UK economy for you? George Osborne has set out his plan for economic recovery, but Channel 4 News wanted to find out what people on the street would like to see.

Amongst the chancellor’s announcements was the news that people in their 30s and younger will have to work to the age of 69 at least in order to claim a state pension.

The young are already hit by high unemployment rates, difficulties with getting on the housing ladder, and increased fees for education. Channel 4 News went out onto the streets, armed with a lightbulb, to find out what “bright ideas” those in their thirties and younger would like to see from the government (video, below).

Raising the age of retirement not only means the young will have to work harder, Fiona McCormick wrote on the Channel 4 News Facebook page: it will also make it more difficult to get a job.

Responding to a call for ideas from Channel 4 News, Ms McCormick wrote: “Putting the retirement age up when their are so many young people unemployed was just stupid. Both France and Germany have lowered theirs so young people get more opportunities.”

Other comments on Facebook suggested repealing the bedroom tax (so the most vulnerable can share in the recovery), building more social housing (so young people can leave home and become independent) and legalising and taxing cannabis.

On Twitter, responses included beefing up taxation of major corporates such as Amazon and Google, “free and assisted patent applications” and stamp duty land tax reform.

Some social media suggestions that are perhaps less likely to be implemented included a “super-tax on people called Gideon” and “free kittens.”

Rates relief

One of the main planks of Mr Osborne’s statement was greater support for small businesses. A package of measures he unveiled includes a cap on business rates at 2 per cent next year and, for the smallest shops, pubs and restaurants, a £1,000 discount on their business rates.

New occupants of empty shops will get their rates halved in order to encourage the opening of new branches.

Channel 4 News Social Affairs Editor Jackie Long has been in Lincoln talking to owners of small businesses. Jason Pick, from Modern Classics Cafe, welcomed the business rates announcement, but said more needed to be done.

“The government has not gone far enough, but it will help,” he said. “Business rates are not biggest issue, I still think they should go further to help small businesses. The mess we are in was not caused by us and more needs to be done to get us out of it.”

How do you think the economy could be fixed? Take the Channel 4 News survey below, or send us a tweet.