Inheritance should go directly to grandchildren to help ease housing crisis, says housing minister

'I've got a nice home', says Gavin Barwell

Jon Stone
Monday 10 October 2016 07:29 BST
Houses (Gareth Fuller/PA)

A Tory minister has suggested a new way to help tackle the housing crisis - grandparents should hand their inheritance directly to their grandchildren to help them buy their first home.

Gavin Barwell, the housing minister, said the idea would help combat inter-generational unfairness, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Barwell revealed his mother would be leaving her estate and home to his sons.

"There is a job here to make very strongly the moral case to people about why these homes are needed.

"There is a profound inter-generational unfairness that has been created by this policy over a number of years.

"I have got a nice home, I have got three kids and my mother has just disinherited my brother and I in order that she can pass her assets on to her five grandchildren. They will be OK," he said.

Asked if others should think about transferring wealth this way, he said: "Yes, absolutely. Generally in life we all like to think that our children are going to be better off than us.

Rich getting richer

"In terms of life expectancy and new technology, they are going to be. But at the moment as things stand they are less likely to own their own home and we need to do something about that."

Mr Barwell's comments follow controversial claims he made at the Conservative Party conference that private housing developers should build homes with smaller rooms that do not meet existing minimum space standards so that young people can afford to buy them.

Barwell told the Conservative conference in Birmingham that he wanted the private sector to “innovate” to solve the housing crisis and that relaxing the rules on how cramped a flat can be might stop young people from being priced out.

The minister said that although most people “given the choice” would like to live in a reasonably sized home, this might not be possible for young people.

Tory homes minister says building social housing increases inequality

“We also want people to innovate – there are things the private sector is doing,” Mr Barwell told a fringe event.

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