WHEN I was a boy, I had a money box. Along the spine there was the word "thrift" and an embossed design of the plant of the same name.

I can remember the excitement of posting a coin through the slot and feel the comforting increase of weight in this leather-covered vault. Now I encourage my children to have a building society account where there is the added incentive of earning interest.

However, the past ten years have seen the erosion of the savings ethic. Of course many factors can be blamed; the arrival of the credit card has changed the way we lived but it is still far too easy to obtain these cards with ludicrously high upper limits. Saving for a rainy day has simply gone out of fashion with many people. The incentive to save has been marginalised.

The idea that you save all your life, having already paid tax on it, but on your death 40 per cent is taken by the Chancellor, is quite simply iniquitous. It is immoral that the child who has looked after an elderly parent in the family home has to sell up on the death of the parent to pay off this tax, or siblings living together similarly have to give up the family home when one of them dies.

So the message seems to be spend it rather than handing it over to the taxman. The announcement that a Conservative Government will raise the threshold of inheritance tax to £1million will be loudly cheered.

The aspiration of owning your own home has become an increasingly distant dream for many of our young people. Thanks to high house prices and rapid increases in stamp duty, the bottom rungs of the housing ladder are broken.

Our announcement of abolishing stamp duty for first time buyers to £250,000 means that help will be on the way and the inheritance proposals mean that once again parents will find it easier to help the children on that ladder.

Only one person stands in the way, the tenant of 10 Downing Street who has for the last ten years done his best to encourage us to break open the money box to make us feel better, never mind the consequences.