Future Prosperity Panel

Matthew Taylor

Chief executive - Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA)

Matthew Taylor became chief executive of the RSA in November 2006. Prior to this appointment, he was chief adviser on political strategy to the Prime Minister. He was appointed to the Labour Party in 1994 to establish the party's rebuttal operation and went on to be assistant general secretary, until December 1998. During the 1997 General Election he was Labour's director of policy and a member of the Party's central election strategy team.

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Summary of essay

Despite all the specific contexts and complexities, it still seems to make sense to suggest that we should encourage more saving in society. However there are factors which conspire to undermine a culture of saving, including: a lack of real or fiscal incentives to save; concerns over regulatory safeguards which reassure people as to the safety of their savings; and the ineffective nature of financial literacy education.

To achieve this we need to foster a new culture of saving. A public debate about the virtues of saving is needed and governments and financial institutions should promote a set of practical policies to make saving more attractive.

Real incentives to save are needed. Some of the public subsidy from tax incentives which benefit the better off should be redirected to match-fund savings among those more in need. Financial education needs to be more focused and relevant and much more needs to be done to ensure working age people save more for their retirement.