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Baby shortage: how it could affect the UK’s future economy

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An aging population and a startling decline in fertility could lead to future economic downturns in the UK, a think tank warns.

The Social Market Foundation (SMF) said in a report released today that the UK is at risk of economic harm. Because falling fertility intensifies the baby burst and the long-term trend for people with few children is fewer workers, a weaker economy and could leave the UK. Unsustainable public finances.

Birth rates are falling sharply and the UK is facing a population crisis, Carly-Emma Leachman told the Conversation in Conversation in 2019 that the birth rates in England and Wales were the lowest since records began.

According to The Guardian, the fertility rate peaked in 1964 when the average number of children per woman was 2.93. And in 2020, it was 1.58, well below the 2.1 needed to keep the population proportion stable. In Scotland, this ratio was even more pronounced at 1.29.

It was predicted that the March 2020 closure could increase the birth rate in the UK. However, the Covid restrictions did not lead to a baby boom and total fertility rates in England and Wales could reach all-time lows in 2021, Sky News reports.

Pronatalism: A Discussion We Shouldn’t Avoid

In Baby Bust and Baby Boom: A Liberal Case Study on Pronatalism, the SMF found that there are currently fewer than 3 people aged 65 and over for every 10 workers. By the middle of the next decade, that ratio will rise to 3.5 and close to 4 by the 2060s. Meanwhile, by 2050, a quarter of Britons will be over 65, up from a fifth today.

The SMF said the combination of a low proportion of the workforce with a high proportion in need of economic support clearly negatively impacts the economy’s productive capacity.

The study’s authors, Scott Corfe and Aveek Bhattacharya, argue that the long-term outlook means that UK policymakers should consider the merits of liberal fertility. This is a policy or practice that encourages having children, especially through government support for higher birth rates, the Guardian said.

Bhattacharya, chief economist at the SMF, said the question of whether governments should intervene to boost fertility is clearly a sensitive topic that needs to be dealt with delicately. But given the alarming decline in fertility rates and the risks an aging population poses to our social and economic well-being, this is an argument we should not avoid.

Many other liberal democracies are exploring ways to make it easier for those who want children to have them by using policies such as cash payments to parents, more generous parental leave, and lower childcare fees. Here in the UK we have to consider the merits of these policies. Especially because these policies will bring many other benefits to parents, children and the wider society.

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