Equality and Human Rights,Intergenerational

Private Dinner Debate: Sunday 29th September, Manchester (Outside the secure zone), 18:30 (for 19:00) to 21:00
Supported by University of Manchester and the Ready for Ageing Alliance

David Willetts MP’s 2010 book, “the Pinch: How the Baby Boomers Took Their Children’s Future – And Why They Should Give it Back” argued that society is “not attaching sufficient value to the claims of future generations”.

It set out that baby boomers have benefited from a set of unique circumstances, benefitting from, amongst other things, improved healthcare, a growth in housing wealth, relatively generous occupational pensions and free higher education.

Since the publication of the book, policy debates about intergenerational fairness have raged. On the one hand, younger people today face student fees, high costs of housing and high unemployment. Benefits have been cut for younger people and those of working age, whilst older people have retained universal benefits such as the free bus pass and TV licence and a winter fuel allowance.

On the other hand, there are huge inequalities within the older population and significant poverty continues. Older people have found low interest rates erode their savings and quantitative easing has contributed to continued falls in annuity rates.

But how real is the conflict being played out in the media and public policy? At a familial level, financial transfers between generations are common and people of all ages are contributing care across and within generations. When ILC-UK surveyed individuals in 2011 about the national insurance exemption for older workers, we found younger people were more likely than old to defend the policy. Similarly, recent polling for Prudential found younger people more likely to defend pensioner benefits than older people themselves.

At this debate, researchers from the University of Manchester will examine the reality of intergenerational competition for resources. ILC-UK will discuss new research, supported by Key Retirement Solutions and Partnership, on the transfer of wealth from grandparents to grandchildren. Other speakers will present their views on how to prevent the emergence of intergenerational tensions.

During the debate we will explore:

  • What is the evidence of intergenerational conflict?
  • Are older people consuming a disproportionate amount of societal resources?
  • Are divisions within generations more important than those between them?
  • Should there be greater focus on wealth and health disparities within rather than between generations?
  • To what extent is there a transfer of wealth between generations?
  • What can be done to prevent future intergenerational conflict?

If you are interested in attending this dinner debate, please contact Lyndsey Mitchell on Please note that we have limited availability remaining for this dinner.