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A report by the leading Think Tank, International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) and commissioned by poverty charity, Elizabeth Finn Care, finds that nearly two-thirds of people (65%) think that job creation should take precedence over reducing government debt. The report urges the Government to consider intergenerational fairness as it makes its decisions about spending cuts over the next week.

A opinion survey published today, which forms part of a wider analysis of the potential impact of the Spending Review in the context of intergenerational fairness, reveals that the public thinks that transport (63%), out-of-work benefits (54%) and defence (44%) are the top three areas the Chancellor should target for spending cuts.

Moreover, four in five over-65s think that spending on their age group should be protected – as did over seven in ten 16-24 year olds. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a quarter of 16-24 year olds would target pensions for cuts, whilst just 15% of over-65s agree.

Somewhat counter-intuitively, younger people were also more likely (one third of 16-24 year olds) to target education for cuts than older people (one in five aged over 65).

The poll runs alongside a more in-depth analysis, in which ILC-UK sets out three principles for maintaining intergenerational fairness in relation to the Spending Review. First, it argues that it should impact fairly across different generations; second, that it should not exacerbate the causes of poverty in later life and lastly, it should not undermine the drivers of increased longevity.

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive of ILC-UK, said: “There is no doubt that the Chancellor will have to make some very difficult decisions over the next few weeks. There has been much talk in the media about the generational attitudes to spending cuts. But if the Government is to sell the merits of the Spending Review to all generations, it is essential that no generation today thinks they will be worse off than others.”

Dr Craig Berry, lead author of the report and Senior Researcher at ILC-UK, said: “Those born poor tend to be poor when they are older, and as such decisions about spending cuts must be taken in the context of a lifecourse approach. Unemployment is a key determinant of poverty, and initiatives to promote employment, skills and education must be protected, as far as possible.”

Download a copy of the report here.

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